I know, I know. It seems crazy but after phone banking last night with a bunch of Obama supporters who are NOT OLD ENOUGH TO VOTE, I believe this.
There I was, calling random strangers, asking about their ballot choices when I realized that the great majority of people around me were, in fact, high school kids. I was suspicious but they seemed normal. The guys arrived on their skateboards and the girls peppered their language with lots of "OMG!" and the inevitable "so,like, I was, like, totally, like ...." This horrible speaking habit, I noticed, was not displayed on the phone calls. (A-ha! So it can be turned off!)
Dang. I am so impressed with these kids and told them so. When I was in high school, I certainly didn't two shits about what was going on in the outside adult world, let alone offer to help. Geez. (I do remember being excited about voting. I cast my ballot for Reagan because he seemed nice - swear to God.)
I was commending one girl and making this comparison between the generations and she said, "Yeah, my mom, like, said the same thing. Dunno. Different times, I guess." Then, she went back to talking to her buddy about their recent 'solar v. wind v. fossil fuels' debate in her Environment Class ....! Different times? Holy shit! It's like they are from a different planet - a much more enlightened, responsible one.
I had to ask, "Why are you guys here if you can't even vote?" They explained that it is a student-organized group at their high school (George Washington, here in Denver) that does a number of activities, including volunteering for Obama. I asked one shaggy-headed young man if he was frustrated that he was doing all this but could not cast a ballot. "Oh, yeah. Totally. But," he shrugged, "Obama needs to be our next president and I'll be able to vote for his second term."
"Wow," I said to the kid. "You guys are going to save us. Truly." He just smiled at me sheepishly. I continued, "It does make sense, I guess. Since you're going to inherit everything. Er, sorry about the big mess. Heh."
"Yeah," he laughed nervously "Thanks a lot!"
Postscript: I was less inspired by the older gentleman phone banking to my right. He was an African-American fellow who'd recently moved to Denver from Georgia to help his kids and grandkids "prepare." For what, I asked? Well, the End Times, of course. May 21, 2011. Mark your calendars.