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The Great Elder Email Schlep

category_bug_politics.gif Elders are the largest voting bloc by age in the country. I suppose retired people have more time to get to the polls and we are likely to be more serious about taking part in this aspect of democracy.

Although much was made during the 2008 campaign about young voters' participation, particularly in support of Barack Obama, this year – well, not so much.

John Della Volpe, who is director of polling at Harvard University's Institute of Politics, reports that

“[M]ore than 70 percent of young voters tell us they are not sure that they will vote in the upcoming midterm elections. In fact, as the election has drawn nearer, our tracking numbers over the last year indicate that Millennials aged 18 to 29 are less - not more - likely to vote; less than one-in-five tell us that they are politically engaged.”

Another poll, reported by CBS News, tells us:

“Of those between the ages of 18 and 29 who voted for President Obama in 2008, 85 percent approve of the job he's doing. But only 44 percent say they definitely plan to vote in the midterm elections.”

The thing about voting is, you don't get to complain about what government is doing if you don't vote, and there is plenty to complain about these days in our ongoing post-recession recession that will not stop, whichever party controls the houses of Congress after 2 November.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, comedian Sarah Silverman created The Great Schlep, a video urging young people to travel to Florida to convince their grandparents to vote for Barack Obama. The video, still on YouTube, is profane and otherwise in questionable taste, but it has given me an idea for us:

How about The Great Elder Email Schlep?

You don't need to travel to Florida or anywhere else; email and the telephone will work just fine. The idea is to convince your grandchildren, nieces and nephews in that 18 to 29 age range to get out and vote.

Talk to them about the responsibility of citizens in a democracy to vote. Track down online information about contests in their states and send links. Find the polling places for their homes and send the addresses.

It's not wrong to be partisan about it. If your grandkid lives in Alaska, send some information about Lisa Murkowski and Scott McAdams because, if you only hear or see mainstream media, you wouldn't know they are the people running against Teabagger Joe Miller.

If your nieces and nephews live in Minnesota, Delaware, Nevada and other states with heavy Tea Party support, send those lunatic quotations from Michele Bachmann, Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle and the rest of them – there are plenty to go around. And if you've got a blog, post your own story about The Great Elder Email Schlep, get your readers to do the same and pass it on to their readers.

Make a nuisance of yourself for the next week until the election with those young, potential voters. If you have Twitter and Facebook accounts, use them too. Pull out all the stops. Let them know how disappointed grandma or grandpa will be in them if they don't vote.

You might also send along the link to this video:

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Helen: Story Time


Great post, Ronni. Thanks for sharing that video.

Good idea. I hope it encourages some young people to get out there and vote. My kids could hardly wait and were down registering as soon as they could. I know my grandkids will be the same way as they live in homes that discuss politics regularly as it is part of their future how these things go.

Rain makes a really good point I wish I'd thought to mention in the story above so I want to reiterate it:

Tell your grandchildren, nieces and nephews that the people elected next week will decide how their lives will go. They need to vote to have a say in that future.

Terrific post, Ronni. Let's do it!

Great idea, Ronni! I like the video! I wanted to do something to urge young people to vote. I'll work on putting something together this week for my blog and Facebook. This really helps.

Wonderful idea. I can do this.

Ronni, Thought this was supposed to be non-partisan. Get out the Vote! certainly to be commended BUT there is much to think about in this election. Don't vote blindly partisan--check their credentials! Stupid is stupid but avaricious, deceitful and missing any integrity at all is much, much worse. We have all been hoodwinked by our own government and we must start to think for ourselves. My vote will be divided up, down and sideways this year and I only pray I am voting for a person with ethics not one just looking for another year in office!

I don't have anyone in my family in that age range, but will tell others because they may have. Thanks for a super idea.

NWD says he or she "thought this was supposed to be non-partisan."

I didn't say that; when this blog strays into politics, it is almost never non-partisan.

Nor do I assume, as NWD appears to, that any of the thoughtful intelligent people who read and comment on this blog don't vote intelligently. Here at TGB, it goes without saying that they do.

I am pleased you responded to NWD, Ronni. I was about to make a similar comment. It must be he hasn't spent much time reading TGB. He would have learned you and your readers are neither stupid nor lack integrity.

Thanks for the video, Ronni. I'm using it in my post tomorrow. Apathy is rampant and if my kind of people don't vote I will be represented in Washington by an uninformed, untested, unintelligent 28 year old Tea Partier whose done nothing but work in his family's construction business (which took TARP $$ even tho he's opposed to it). I'm disgusted.

I can empathize with my children who feel their vote is worthless, but I tell them they need to be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Falls mostly on deaf ears. The youngest especially feels totally disenfranchised.

I suppose the motivation is missing; unlike my generation when given the opportunity to vote went by the droves.

Of course, when your butt is about to be shipped over to a jungle in southeast Asia against your will, Motivation has been dumped in your lap.

What the younger generation should know is they have far better tools of communication than the 70's generation; they could be a formidable force if they chose to be.

When I lived in Italy (1961-1968) when citizens went to City Hall or other outposts of bureaucracy, and presented their ID cards (everybody had to have one), if they had not voted in the previous elections, their cards were stamped with" "THIS CITIZEN DID NOT VOTE IN THE LAST ELECTION" in large, black, block capitals. Voter turnout was in the ninety percentiles. It wouldn't work here (no ID cards). Maybe non-voters could have it stamped on their foreheads, in indelible ink.
Although I am not terribly impressed by any of the candidates including Bill White for governor, I will register a protest vote, just for the hell of it. Non-Republicans don't have much clout here in Texas.

You have a wonderful idea, Ronni.

My children and Grandchildren vote in almost every election and I usually do not remind them ...BUT, this is a very important election and I have sent the link to the You Tube to every one of them, just to give them a little extra jolt.

Mythster - I feel your pain, Texan.

GREAT IDEA! Our kids are in their 40s and 50s and will do pretty much as they choose (our state votes by mail and I think most have voted). Our grandkids are quite mobile, as a lot of young people are. I'm not even sure we have their current addresses. However, we'll definitely call or send an electronic message to those we can reach, urging them to vote. I SO agree that apathy is pervasive in this election, but everyone's choice (or non-choice, if they don't vote) now and in 2012 will have a huge impact on the future direction of our nation.

Good idea, Ronni. Count me in.

Great post. May not remind the one grandson as I'm sure his vote will cancel mine. Can't convince this fellow to vote for his own and his country's interest.

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