young voters

e.thePeople : Article : Under 25 voters need a reason to believe Over at E-The People, there’s a lively discussion about why young Americans don’t vote. Many perspectives are represented, and it’s hard to generalize. However, I am uncomfortable with the idea (expressed by several participants) that young voters are especially skillful at detecting hypocrisy and thus turned off by politicians, with the exception of John McCain and possibly Howard Dean. I would reply that: 1) No one can tell who’s phony through the filter of the mass media. Thus young people are deluding themselves if they think they’re excellent judges of character. 2) A cynical press corps makes us think that our politicians are generally more hypocritical than they actually are. If this impression causes us not to vote, we’re the ones who lose power as a result. And 3) you can be a phony with good ideas, or a highly principled and consistent person who’s a complete nut. Therefore, I don’t think there’s any substitute for forming opinions about issues and then voting accordingly. The low level of knowledge among 18-25s is thus a bigger problem than their intolerance for phoniness.