For the 5 days leading up to the election I campaigned for Barack Obama in the battleground state of Ohio. I knocked on doors, talked to voters, made phone calls, and entered data for 16-hours a day. It was exhausting and the hardest I have worked on something unrelated to the Internet.
I was not alone. Thousands of people, the majority under the age of 30, had dropped their life’s pursuit to do the same. Many had been at it for the 5 months, postponing medical school, jobs, and lives to elect their candidate for president. They were relentless, attacking a campaign with an energy that only the youthful can sustain.
The result of those efforts played out at a bar in Cincinnati where hundreds of members of that campaign gathered to watch Barack Obama elected to the presidency of the United States. The young crowd embraced each other and screamed with excitement, not only because a great man was elected president, but because he was elected on their backs. He was elected because they had cared enough to effect change, and they were victorious.
Obama is the first president of my generation. Technically he is a part of Generation X, but he listens to Hip-Hop, he uses the Internet, and he was unequivocally elected by the brute force of the mobilized youth. Not only is he our first leader; he represents the first time we have collectively don
e anything. We have been complacent with our politics and mediocre with our music. This was our coming out party. We heard Obama’s call, “ENOUGH” and we answered forcefully.
As I watched Obama’s acceptance speech, I felt unexpectedly overjoyed that the nightmare of the last 8 years was over. I no longer had to feel ashamed of the leadership of my country, and that the process of restoring our place in the world could finally begin. I felt like we had just overthrown an oppressive regime, an out of touch generation, and our own characteristic apathy. I even felt a little gratitude towards Bush for showing us how horrific things could be when we choose to do nothing, for motivating us to strive for better.
We are not excited or motivated by much. Past generations may call us jaded. It’s difficult to look at the result of the energy of the sixties and feel like there is any use in getting worked up. We are measured, even keeled, and skeptical. We are bread on advertising and our ability to filter out bullshit is razor sharp. Compared to the sixties, we are not a breeding ground for the arts, for passion, or for creativity. Despite this, we may just have the perfect temperament to run the world. I’m thankful that we have decided to step up to that challenge, and despite our past apathy, that we have the opportunity to do better.