Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Enthusiasm Gap: An Open Letter to Young Voters

While the Huff Po's style section has been breathlessly reporting on the week-long flight and eventual crash and burn of the Gap's new logo, they're also telling us that the new logo has been so unpopular that complaints about it have their own Facebook page. Considering the Gap's typical target demographic (a not unreasonable guess would be 16-30), then it only follows that the people most passionate about the Gap's new logo, which is something Mondrian would've done on a lazy day ("Fuck 'em. One square is all they get today!"), would be young people.

OK, fair enough. My three year-old grandson Gavin could've come up with something more creative in five minutes flat and for free. It also sucked a little that the company just foisted its shitty little logo off on their online customers without even soliciting input. But in 100 years, who'll give a shit? 50 years? One year?

What counts and what will ripple throughout history is what our generations do today and that starts with who we elect and throw out of Congress. Where's the outrage from you young people about who's in Congress? How many of the kids who tweeted and texted complaints about the Gap's new logo will actually wind up at the polls on November 2nd?

Priorities, kids, priorities. We've passed down shitty priorities to your generation but that doesn't mean you have to take our cues. We get more emotionally engaged over who the next American Idol will be than we do who will be our next president or Senator or Congressman.

You are the real silent majority, the ones who can put the kibosh on the GOP's pre-election boasting about taking back our government. And think about those words, "take back." Doesn't sound very democratic, does it? Well, Republicans don't believe in winning anything fair and square, as is evidenced by the fact that they stole three consecutive elections between 2000-2004. When they know we won't give them something they want, like a neocon president or a Congressional majority, they just take it. It's really that simple. Ask Al Gore or Max Cleland or Cynthia McKinney. And they're largely able to get away with it because the people who are now your parents and grandparents showed more balls in the 60's than you generally do on your best day. We put our lives on the line for women's rights, gay rights, civil rights and protesting Vietnam.

You protest the Gap's new logo.

We know that those of you who were old enough to vote for Obama two years ago are suffering from sticker shock and for many, many, many good reasons. But the fact that you were largely instrumental in turning a dark horse candidate who four years earlier was an Illinois state senator and making him the first legitimate President of the United States since Clinton was nothing short of a miracle. You did that.

And you'll have your say two years from now when you go decide if Obama deserves to stay in office. But right now we have the midterms to get through and if the Republicans take back even one chamber of Congress... Well, you see what the Democrats have done (or rather, not done) because the pygmy Republican party calls them bad names. Imagine how tough it'll be for Obama to get anything done if even just the lower chamber gets taken over again by right wing Tea Party psychopaths.

And if you don't want to vote Democrat, that's fine, too. How you vote is an intensely personal choice. But the important thing is that you get out there and do your damnedest to keep the Republicans out of power. Remember reading about the GOP's "Pledge to America"? They basically said, "We are already planning on fucking you over for the next three lifetimes if you give us the majority." They will take your Social Security and put it on the craps table of Wall Street. They will take away your Medicare. They will eradicate whatever few good things there are about the health care bill.

And they're the ones who got us into this mess, in the first place. If you're 18 and just about to vote for the first time, keep in mind that since you were in third grade, we have been perpetually at war with one country or another. You have an all-Republican government to thank for that, especially Iraq. If you couldn't get that minimum wage summer job earlier this year because your Dad's out of work neighbor grabbed it, you have Republicans to thank for that, too.

And too many of us working class slobs are all too ready to hand the reins of power back to the same psychopaths that got us into this mess and for what? A few more dollars on our tax returns while many of them will get back more than you likely will make in half a lifetime?

Get out and vote and stop worrying about the Gap's new logo. Everything, regrettably, begins with politics down the quality of the water you drink, the food you eat, the air you breathe, how much you'll get back on your taxes, how safe your work place and first car will be or what you're taught at school. We already have an enthusiasm gap that's threatening to put this country back into the Dark Ages from which we haven't even begun emerging.

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