Saturday, October 11, 2008

Election Countdown "A to Z" (C is for Children)

I've decided that out of sheer ambition and a dose of chutzpah, I'm going to do a post every day between now and the election (24 days from today) and tie it to a letter of the alphabet. All the posts—in order, from A to Z—will be election and politics oriented.

C is for children

A Jr. High school acquaintance sent me this video (below) today. She, along with some other concerned parents, put it together as part of a grassroots effort to get Barack Obama elected. I watch it and remember how much it's so about the kids, even as cliche as that sounds.

Parents on both sides of the aisle want what's best for their arriving generation. A father stood up at a John McCain rally yesterday and told the candidate he was scared of raising his soon-to-be-born child under an Obama administration. McCain, in a rare maverick-y departure from the recent ugliness of his campaign, told the man he had nothing to fear from a president Obama.

That McCain supporter's newborn may not be voting until 2030, but slightly older children are part of the expanding demographic that modern candidates need to converse with and understand. Clearly, Obama has grasped this far better than McCain and it's easy to understand why. Even though he's a Baby Boomer, Obama is really the first "Millennial" candidate. From his multiracial heritage to his confident use of technologies like social media and viral video, he acts like, and works within, the world of teenagers and 20-somethings.

In terms of race, the youth are shattering the prevailing adult American attitudes and comprising a new rainbow society the next president will have to manage. New York magazine recently reported on how the perception of a 10-year-old, in this election, is a lot different than the adults watching it unfold. It went on to say about the possible future, "If Obama is elected to two terms, an entire generation of 10-year-olds will come of age having been barely aware of anyone other than a black man in the White House." Take that, grown ups.

Definitely check out New York's Obama Kids piece. Also check out Vote for Our Future. Above illustration by Jules Arthur/New York magazine


PollWatcher said...

Interesting post. But if we are going to have real meanings to words like "generations", we need to use the actual meaningful definitions. Obama is not a Boomer nor a Millennial. Generations are purely based on birth years; no generation expert anywhere says it's based on mindset. As many prominent experts have noted, Obama is a member of Generation Jones--born 1954-1965, between the Boomers and GenXers.

There is a new video which addresses exactly this point. It features many top pundits (including David Brooks, Clarence Page, Dick Morris, Juan Williams, Karen Tumulty, Howard Wolfson, Michael Barone, etc.) specifically talking about Obama and Palin's membership in Generation Jones, as well as the surprisingly big role that GenJones is now playing in this election. The video is 5 minutes, and can be found here:

daddy in a strange land said...

My wife and I took our 4-year-old daughter to an Obama Family Rally yesterday here in our predominanty conservative town. Our second child is due in February, not long after inauguration day. And we're planning on giving her the middle name Hope--you can figure out why.

Read your post and watched the video first thing this morning, while my daughter and wife were playing in the other room. Way to make a dude cry first thing in the morning, Raymond. :)

Raymond Leon Roker said...

Pollwatcher--Really glad you posted a comment. I had never heard of 'Generation Jones'. But I have read that 'Baby Boomers' went until 1964 (the invention of the birth control pill).

And I meant that metaphorically, he's got 'Millennial' tendencies. BTW, Millennials are erroneously called Gen Y too. Definitely going to check that video though--thank you.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I have always been told that being born in 1960 made me the last of the boomers...
Anyhow, just wanted to share an image from a technology in education blog (
that seemed relevant to your 'C' for Children posting: (now to see if this boomer can insert a jpg into a comment... :) Ah heck, dinner is ready- just go to this link, it should bring you to the image:


Joe Shiraz