This month marks the first time my oldest son will get the chance to vote in an election. He missed out on voting in the 2016 Presidential election because he wasn’t yet old enough, so he’s really excited to get his chance on this occasion to vote in the mid-terms. It’s fun to see his excitement and enthusiasm. I remember the privilege I felt when I was able to pull the lever on the voting machine for the first time at my old high school. It was something about knowing I had a chance to make a difference that infused a sense of pride and patriotism in me at that young age.
In the last ten years, I’ve witnessed personally how the younger generation is approaching politics and our country with the same vigor and passion that I felt many years ago. I watched as my niece entered the political realm and worked on a variety of campaigns, including a presidential primary campaign, while she was in college. Her connections ultimately led her to Washington, DC, and then to New York City and back to Washington. Through it all, her dedication and commitment have been unwavering. She has, however, matured a great deal since those first campaigns during college. She knows the system well, much better than the average citizen or I would; after all, she’s worked in the halls, so she’s seen it first-hand. She understands the “politics” of Washington, and how it differs from what we know on the street. My wife and I had our first taste of how far my niece had come when one of her tweets was trending nationally online and came across our computer screen one day. That was pretty amazing, considering this young lady was born and raised in a small mill town in Virginia. It’s a testament to just how sharp-minded she is. She had a positive influence on her younger brother as well, as he, too, is very knowledgeable about how government truly works. After graduating from the University of Virginia, he joined his sister in Washington, although in a different capacity. Both are prime examples of this generation’s attitude toward the future…their future.
As I watched the young people of Florida in the past months give speeches and interviews, once again I was amazed at how they were able to communicate so effectively. If we could all set aside the position they were taking for a moment, and look unbiased just at the fact that these were young teenagers standing in front of television cameras, as well as a crowd of thousands, and speaking so eloquently, and intelligently presenting their point of view, it was a remarkable thing to watch; especially when one is a parent of teenagers.
I watch my two sons as they grow up playing sports and video games, and watching Netflix, interacting on social media, and spending time with their friends; and it’s during those times, as a parent, you don’t imagine them ever being interested in the inner workings of the real world around them. And then one day, they surprise you with intelligent conversation about the world and national events, and reveal a clear understanding of what they’re talking about. You begin to realize, they’re growing up. Their world is becoming bigger than just their community. Their interests are growing as well. And given the fact they have far more resources at their fingertips than my generation ever had growing up, they’ve become more informed, more quickly. Parents really have to stay on their toes to keep up, and that’s a good thing, because as parents, we should stay informed; just because we’re older doesn’t mean we can’t still care as much. Perhaps the younger generation is influencing us in a positive way in this manner.
In the end, I’m happy to see the interest is peaking in the future of our country, that being our young people. As we get older, they will be the majority that passes laws that take care of us. Let’s pray they make good decisions. As far as I can tell, it won’t be from a lack of knowledge and understanding, that’s for sure!