I have already mentioned the theme of this post, getting young people to vote, in this post; but I feel so strongly about my personal experience that I want to elaborate on this point.
The year: 2000. My Age: 23. The Election: Al Gore running against George W. Bush. What did I do? Nothing. I didn't vote, I didn't discuss it, didn't think it mattered, knew they were all corrupt anyways etc. etc. Some of the same exact things I hear younger people saying now.
Do younger people of today (younger than I, 34) think they invented being jaded? They Wish. We burned down Woodstock 3, we invented Goth and Grunge, we were responsible for the LA riots (not me personally obviously but people of my generation), we knew the world was full of corruption and greed and didn't care, just burn it all down. Generation X was jaded. And we failed. We let Bush W. get elected not once, but twice.
Would Al Gore of started two wars? Would Gore's team have missed all the clues that the W. team did leading up to 9-11? Would they have let the non-regulation of Wall Street and the housing market to get out of control? Would they have extended tax breaks for the very wealthiest people endlessly? Would the Gore team of had a better energy plan? One can safely assume that he would of made a lot of mistakes, but that Gore would of done a lot of things better too. He certainly would not of invaded Iraq and then secured a seemingly endless amount of oil related contracts to his vice president's former employer, Haliburton.
And the tragic part is that Gore lost by a few thousand votes, (depending on how you look at it, some would say Gore did win), in a few different swing states. Had young people like myself simply understood that voting for the lesser of two evils is a necessary thing sometimes in American politics, then this great country of ours would most likely not have been led into a financial collapse of epic proportions in 2008. John Kerry lost to Bush W. by a measly 34 electoral votes in 2004. This time I did vote but not enough young people did.
It does matter if you vote. Yes both sides cater to special interests, but one believes in equal rights for all people, one side will surely end the Afghanistan war, one side has brought us from losing millions of jobs each month to now creating private sector jobs each month. One side will not continue to give tax breaks for the wealthiest people. It is a clear choice and it does matter if you vote. The choice might not be something you want to make and it is a harsh way to put it maybe, but the lesser of two evils is always a better choice.