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we need more naive youth in politics

About a week ago I had a conversation with a friend of mine about our mutual desire to some day go into politics. I brought up how naive we both are about the whole process, and the chances of ever getting elected, but we both agreed that being a little naive, and extremely idealistic is something that politics could use more of. There is a huge problem with young people not voting, but who can really blame them when there is pretty much no one representing their interests in politics. Old people vote, old people run for political office, issues important to an older population get most of the attention.

Recently in my provincial riding of Vancouver-Burrard Spencer Herbert won a by-election under the NDP banner. I believe Spencer is 27 years old, turns 28 this year. He is quite young, but not without some political experience (3 years on Parks Board in Vancouver). Spencer is a prime example of what I am talking about. He is young, he does not have a lot of experience, but he has energy, ideas, and the naivete to believe that he can really make a difference if he works hard enough. I am not saying that older, more experienced politicians do not think they can make a difference, but they seem so much more cautious in their approach, and they only go for ideas and issues that they are pretty certain they can make an impact in/on. We need some new ideas, with some fresh new minds working on them.

So what do we do as young people to elect more people close to our own age? I do not really know. You still have to be able to convince mostly older voters that youth and inexperience can be positive attributes. It is possible for a highly organized group of young people to join a political party, sign up as many people as they can in their riding and take over a nomination process. If you could manage to win nomination for a dominant political party in a riding then you have a very good chance of getting elected. The problem is that the highly winnable ridings tend to have either highly entrenched incumbents, or have very stiff competition in the nominations process.

The key though is to try. Young people need to get invovled. Poeple like me need to stop thinnking about it, stop talking about it, and start taking action. Young people are underrepresented because we simply do not care enough, or are too lazy to actually get active in our political process. I am clearly a hypocrit. It is unlikely I have the drive or the energy to really get involved in the process. But just writing this is a step in the right direction. It is evidence of my laziness, and evidence of my idealism.

Some day, maybe when I’m older, more experienced, wiser, then I will get involved.

February 15, 2009 Posted by | Politics | | 3 Comments