Wissot: An open letter to all voting millennials
Dear millennials: “A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”Don’t recognize the line? Don’t worry. Why should you? It’s from the 1960s Simon and Garfunkel song “Mrs. Robinson” featured in the movie, “The Graduate,” from the same decade. As an aging baby boomer, I clearly remember the line, the song and the movie.
Millennials, I am hoping you can help us old folks out of the predicament we find ourselves in and put an end to the national nightmare caused by the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Your potential for impacting future elections is untapped and undeniable. The sheer magnitude of your numbers is eye-popping. According to the Christian Science Monitor, astonishingly, “millennials are now the largest generation and have the most people in the workforce.”
You already demonstrated your clout by playing a pivotal role in the Democrats retaking the House in 2018. Your generation along with generations Z and X comprised 51% of the midterm vote. The boomers? A mere 36%, according to data from the Pew Research Center.
I have followed you with a critical eye. I see how different from my generation you view matters of race, sexual orientation and climate change.
When I was your age, the sight of an interracial couple holding hands in public was cause for stares. Now it doesn’t even warrant a glance much less a stare from people your age.
You’ve taken a similarly progressive attitude towards gay couples. Ellen Degeneres kissing another woman on national television 20 years ago was scandalous. Now the fact that Pete Buttigieg is a candidate for president and appears on the cover of Time with his husband seems perfectly normal and natural to you.
While a disturbing percentage of the population treats climate change as science fiction, you stand firmly on the side of science. You, your children, your grandchildren, after all, will suffer the consequences of a planet in which the climate change deniers are wrong.
All of this brings me to central point of this letter: All of your enlightenment and tolerance will be meaningless if you don’t turn out in record numbers again this November. I will say this for my generation of older Americans — they consistently show up to vote on Election Day. They may think that a smartphone is there to actually make phone calls (I doubt any of you have ever used one for that purpose), but politicians take them seriously because they are such a reliable voting bloc.
I know last time around Hillary Clinton didn’t inspire you to vote. You weren’t alone. But this time, please find a candidate who does. Bernie, Elizabeth, Biden, Mayor Pete. Anyone of them will do. All of them are flawed. Each of them is less than ideal. But anyone of them would bring a sorely lacking dose of decency and sanity to the Oval Office.
None of them are sexual predators, pathological liars, flamboyant narcissists, blatant racists, climate deniers. Look at it this way: Whomever the Democrats nominate will be seeking to replace, if not the worst president in modern memory, then at the very least the worst human being ever to be elected president.
Nov. 3 will mark the 14th time I cast a ballot in a presidential election. More often than not, neither candidate appealed to me. But each time that happened I held my nose and voted for the “lesser of the two evils.” As dismaying as that may seem to you, it is the inevitable consequence of living in a two-party system democracy which demands that voters make binary choices.
Picking who is the “lesser” and who is the more “evil” of the two candidates in 2020 should be easy for you.
Please view voting in this year’s presidential election as an expression of civic patriotism. Marcia Ball, a legendary Louisiana blues singer, asked her audience in a concert I recently attended to go out and commit “random acts of aggressive good.”
The jettisoning of our current leader would be a targeted act of aggressive good.
He doesn’t represent my generation. He doesn’t represent your generation. He represents all that is an anathema to our 243-year-old democracy.
I will be watching with anxious anticipation.
Please rescue us, beleaguered boomers, from the mess we have created for ourselves.
An Older American
Jay Wissot is a resident of Denver and Vail. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.