Gordon Kobayashi | Young People: Get Out the Vote

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Attention young people: Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and Millennials (ages 18-35) both represent nearly one-third of the potential voting populace apiece. In 2016, people 65 years and older voted at a 71% rate. Millennials voted at 46%. That is a 25% difference.

The U.S. has one of lowest youth voting rates in the industrialized world. The goal should be to make it the highest. The Sixties generation and yours are the two most progressive and idealistic generations in history. The least racist, the least religiously bigoted, the least homophobic, etc. If young people voted at the same rate as seniors, you could change the world.

The top 1% represent the current power structure of the U.S. This includes the fossil fuel industry, the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries, the corporate media (which controls over 90% of what you watch, read and hear), the military-industrial complex, etc. The three richest Americans own as much wealth as the bottom 160 million-plus Americans. The top 1% owns more wealth than the bottom 92%.

About 49% of all new revenue generated goes to the top 1%. And the other 51% goes to the bottom 99%. When almost half of new wealth created goes to the top 1%, it is called income inequality. Millennials get 3% of this new wealth today vs. 21% they got in 1989. In the 1960s, CEOs made 20 times what their average worker received. Today, it is 287-1. This is the greatest wealth disparity since the 1920s, just before the Great Depression hit.

The concentration of wealth and power by a handful of millionaires/billionaires is called an oligarchy. If we continue in this direction, we end up in a dictatorship. If we move in the opposite direction, however, we will be back in a democracy by majority rule, one person one vote.

The 1% have the wealth and power, but we have the numbers. Now I may not have a doctorate in math, but I can tell you that 99% is a heckuva lot more people than 1%. 

To enact change will require nothing less than overwhelming the ballot box this year with the biggest voter turnout ever seen. Not by a little either — by a lot. Most political experts consider the 2020 election the most important we’ll see in our lifetimes. The future of our country and the future of the planet will be decided next year. Please register to vote AND get people you know registered as well.

As one politician recently said, “We don’t watch the polls. We change the polls,” by getting involved in the political process. 

The future of this country will increasingly rest upon the shoulders of young people. To transform society toward a bright future for them and the other 99% will require a record-shattering turnout.

Gordon Kobayashi

Valley Springs

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