Leave Us Kids Alone 

Why Clinton and Cope might lose the youth vote

Dear Bill Cope: I have a high regard for your talents as a columnist, and it is indeed a pleasure that such an accomplished writer lives in Boise and gives us all a little perspective on the goings-on in this provincial part of the world. This is not, however, why I am writing.

I am writing about your predilection for mocking the younger generation (anyone under 30). It started last summer when you declared that rap music was not a true art form. I held my tongue at that time, though I regretted it. Then there was an article a couple of weeks ago, describing how you believed that the music of your generation was somehow greatly superior to that of the present-day (BW, Cope, "Take Thatkins," Feb. 20, 2008). While I may enjoy much of the classic rock and soul music on your list more than, let's say, the average Rihanna song, I do not see how music "belongs" to any generation. If your generation's artistic endeavors die with your generation, then that says more about those attempts at art than it does about any generation that came after.

But I was willing to forgive you for disparaging an entire art form and for turning your snooty, hippie nose up at the sounds of modern radio stations. But I'm sorry, Bill, I can't let you put down Barack Obama supporters, which is what you did in your recent column (BW, Cope, "Grow Up Time II," March 12, 2008). I can't let you do that because, for the first time in a long time, my generation has hope, we have a man on a mountaintop, we have a Kennedy, we have a Lincoln, we have a great man who is inspiring us to see the possibilities of the world after the last eight years, which I believe to be among the darkest in our nation's history.

I can understand why you like Hillary Clinton, I really can. She appeals to old-school (sorry Bill, that's a little bit of hip-hop slang I hope doesn't offend you, dog) Democrats raised in the struggles of the '60s because she is a divisive figure, she is an in-your-face, love-me-or-hate-me Democrat, and it reminds y'all of the glory days when the women burnt their bras, and the men smoked grass and talked politics because it was hip. But you have to understand: We don't live in the '60s anymore, and while some of the people who lived back then did some amazing things like protest the Vietnam War and march for civil rights, the great majority of your generation did nothing except get high and go to rock concerts (buying a Beatles album in 1968 does not count as a revolutionary act). Y'all grew up to become the very things you claimed to rail aginst: CEOs, bankers, lawyers and even presidents. George W. Bush is a baby boomer; this takes away any bragging rights your generation has.

You are right to be worried that if Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee, it is very likely that she will not have my vote, nor the votes of most of the young people who have become excited about the candidacy of Barack Obama. She represents the same old Democratic Party that has become increasingly irrelevant, the only party in the world incompetent enough to lose the presidential election to George W. Bush, twice.

What angers me the most about your article was your dismissiveness, like we should just let the old folks take care of things and not worry our little iPod-addicted heads about it. But, given the history of you old folks, why in the hell would you expect us to trust you with anything?

Barack Obama transcends race, politics and even party. He has carried Western states with small Democratic populations for the same reason that Montana has a Democratic governor: There are new faces rising in the Democratic Party, offering new ideas and not talking down to Republicans like they are evil just because they feel differently than you. It is a more inclusive wing of the party, and you Democrats had better heed this because right now, it is your only chance to survive. The future will be written by those who understand this and not those clinging to the outdated bickering of the past. Hillary Clinton will most likely not get my vote if she gets the nomination, because if she does, then not only has the Democratic Party betrayed me and my hopes, it has betrayed itself. And if they are going to be that ignorant to the overwhelming will of the American public, then maybe it's time that Obama and his supporters create a new political party, one that represents the interests of all Americans, one that inspires the people, not a party that defers to those citizens as if they were subjects living under the will of some benevolent conquerer. Bill, you quoted the Rolling Stones. Well, I have a quote for you. It's from a rap group called Public Enemy: "Fight the power."

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