How to talk to millennials about voting

I spoke with a couple of millennials earlier today, election day in British Columbia. One of them was engaged and said he was voting straight after work. The other, a mother of two, said she would too … if she has time. She betrayed a complete lack of knowledge about the three main parties. Look, I would love to fling myself  onto the ‘millennials are self-righteous ignorant gobshites because they don’t vote’ dogpile, but I was that self-righteous, ignorant gobshite when I was that age. No one of any age likes a hypocrite.

Props to those youths who are active, involved, outraged, pissed off, fed up, discouraged, rancorous, skeptical of the system but still willing to swallow down hard on the bitter spunk that is political rhetoric …this is the direct path to adulthood. Those types are out there. They exist. Millennials catch a lot of flack, but the generalizations must stop.

What I would ask of those politically engaged millennials is, can you convert one or more of your insolent friends who opines they’ll vote when it conveniences them? I didn’t have a pitchfork to my nads when I was a dumbass non-voter. Can’t change it now, but it’s not up to me to vilify these people. Yes, their inactions are a bane to us all. (I am excluding the apathetic and bitter abstainers of course.) Alas, shaming people into a voting booth will work. At least not in a proactive way. Forcing someone to embrace the political process with or without guns is still tantamount to tyranny. Rather, engage them. Debate them. Convince them to do something with their rights. Ultimately, this is the most personal decision any person can make.

Look, I’m as Lefty as anything on display at Ned Flanders’ Leftorium, and I equate Tories with mulch eating dogs … but the truth is that so long as people vote, I don’t give a solitary, shiny fuck how they vote. (No applause needed, I am still a dick most of the time.) Young people’s indifference to the electoral process is never going out of vogue. And no matter how vile you may believe a certain candidate is, your passion is anathema to someone who is still developing a sense of purpose in society. These non-voters may need a shock to the system to get them involved. (Stockwell Day was mine.) And that’s okay. We’ll deal with it because we’ve been dealing with it our whole lives.

We can’t all be as engaged politically as France. (Turnout for recent election was down but still admirably high in comparison to North America.) Let’s stop berating young people for not being savvy as ourselves; we should try to appeal to them and make political engagement seem less like a chore or duty, but for what it truly is: a noble action.

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