Thursday, March 27, 2008


It was the lightbulb going off in my head. I was listening to the conversation and was struck by the simplicity of the concept. While the facts were being shrouded by the numbers, there was one unmistakable issue that I had failed to consider. What if all the young supporters of Obama just stayed home on election day if Clinton was the candidate for the Democrats?

There is an electricity surrounding the candidacy of Senator Obama. We hear talk of comparisons to President Kennedy. We know that there is a powerful charisma that attaches to him with every step he takes. He is a person who can fill up arenas. He radiates enthusiasm. He brings out an interest in many that has until now been nonexistent. Nowhere is this new found focus more evident than in our youth.

For many who have up to now avoided anything remotely political, they have always seen the system as cold and remote. For them, politicians were interchangeable parts. It did not matter for whom you voted. The train ran itself, and the conductor played little part in where it was headed.

But now there was something new and exciting. Finally, there was a fresh face, a new voice full of hope. There was someone speaking to the youth of America. There was someone speaking for the youth of America. It was a time and place to commit. For those drawn to the message, it was the beginning of their time. It was their voice that was to be heard.

So now, every day we face the drumbeat of number crunchers. Does Clinton beat McCain? Does Obama beat Clinton? Who abandons ship if X plus Y equals something other than Z. It is a math lesson that makes your head spin.

Yet one fundamental question is who stays home. For all the fervor that Senator Obama generates in the youth, there must be a palpable fear that this may dissipate and disappear if Senator Clinton emerges as the Democratic nominee. These are first time voters who are not committed to the electoral process but to a man. If Senator Obama goes, then maybe they go with him.

So , like the tree falling in the forest, if Senator Clinton is the Democratic nominee and the young stay home, the sound that we may all hear is the Democratic party falling flat on its face.

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