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My Third Newsletter
Hi everyone! This is becoming regular post. I will probably slow down, write shorter letters once the election is over, and go to a more monthly schedule rather than weekly. But I am delighted so many of you are responding with positive interest and starting to send me information you'd like me to disseminate here.
For those who didn't get my first newsletters, I am the author of a new book, TEEN POWER POLITICS: MAKE YOURSELF HEARD, an in-your-face issue-oriented book for young Americans on civic and political activism. We need to get all of us involved here and soon-to-be and new voters definitely have the voice, the power, the inteelignce, passion and energy!
TPP News: More and more press are calling for information on TPP and youth as this election becomes more intensive. And, I finally convinced Amazon.com to check their records and change their book availability from a slow delivery to NOW.
Many stores don't know about it as well - I don't know why - but if you ask for TPP and give the ISBN (The Millbrook Press, ISBN: 0-7613-1391-5, paper $9.95), it's in their computers and may just take a day or so to bring in. And the more you ask, perhaps they'll get the idea that this is a relevant book not just for now but for after the elections and beyond! And oh my... perhaps they'll stock it!!!
I was told when I first decided to do this book that no one cares about youth and few are interested in politics. Quite a challenge. The disconnect between youth and politics still remains notwithstanding the great efforts of groups like Youth Vote 2000, Rock the Vote, since politicians still don't hear enough of these voices to understand their power, whether through the vote or through activism and service. Catch 22 (if you don't know it, rent the movie).
We can no longer complain but must be involved. There is a need for more books, articles, information and communication resources to remove the disconnect between "adult" and "youth" issues. None of us -politicians definitely included - can delude themselves when concerns such as environmental justice, a diminution of our constitutionally protected rights and a growing vocal pressure for change arise from this powerful population.
This newsletter hopes to keep us as up-to-date as possible. Also check out TPP's website, http://www.teenpowerpolitics.com, for new issues, resources and examples of youth making change everyday. More young voter concerns will be added as we recognize the cumulative power of this almost 70 million population (pre-teens, teens and Gen X).
I am doing lots of radio and media interviews lately, not traveling much and thus am not posting appearance dates here right now although I want to remind you in LA of my Monday, October 23rd (7pm) signing at Dutton's Brentwood Books!
WHAT THIS NEWSLETTER CONTAINS:
1. Youth issues and the Presidential campaigns.
2. GOTV: Cutting through the confusion.
3. Remaining registration and absentee ballot deadlines.
4. More great political sites.
5. Several youth and online magazines and newsletters I like!
1. YOUTH ISSUES AND THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS
In my interviews, I find I'm being asked about how the front-running presidential candidates and others stand on the issues of youth - high school teens and college-age.
At first, I was not entirely prepared to talk about partisan politics since TEEN POWER POLITICS is anything but. At the same time, I think we do need to truly analyze how the various campaigns are approaching youth issues and voters. And the answer is: Not well.
To take a look at issues in general and how the candidates stack up, one terrific site is Project Vote Smart where their Youth Inclusion Projects "Young Voter Survey" gives a great analysis of young voters and their issues and their "Find Your Reps" will direct you to your own representatives, with information on their voting records, issue positions, campaign finances, & contact information so you can tell them what you think.
Voter.com lays out concisely the substantive issues concerning most Americans and where the candidates (Gore, Bush, and Nadar and Buchanan where available) stand. BUT.... even though the major candidates have youth offices, it is not clear that they are really taking youth into account in this election. Nor are others. As an example, I've been told by the heads of more than one advocacy group that they cannot invest their time in the youth demo..... their faith in getting out that vote not yet supported.
So.... what's there to do? Be pragmatic, define your issues and make your voice large through your and others' votes.
Here are two articles I recommend to you:
a. Ruben Navarette's piece (October 6) in the Dallas Morning News: "Both Candidates Sell-out to young voters"
b. "Andy Sullivan's article : "Students Make Ideal Campaign Camera Fodder "BTW, This is a great new site I've found: Yvote2000: Politics of a New Generation, organized by Medill News Service (Northwestern's School of Journalism) .
AND don't forget to keep checking back for updates at Youth Vote 2000 and Rock the Vote especially. And also BTW, Third Millennium, whose report is mentioned in Ruben Navarette's column, is a site I've forgotten to mention before and one to really watch, especially their Neglection 2000. I love this fact: "The next presidential election in 2000 will be the first in which every member of Generation X will be eligible to vote, and by then, they will be the largest generation within the voting-age population (42% of Americans 18 and older) ... a key component of America's political future."
2. GOTV: CUTTING THROUGH THE CONFUSION
Only three weeks away from the election, we are morphing from registration activities to Get Out The Vote (GOTV).
This is critical as registration does not guarantee a vote. Last week I spoke on a college campus where I introıd a pre-election forum and prepared to just sit back and listen to the student panels and audience question the state and local candidates who came out. But, a large number of questions were directed to me!
Youth, and especially new voters, still need to know what theyıre doing. They are asking:
1. How can I educate myself on all of the local to presidential issues of this election?
2. How does one decide between political parties?
3. What do I do with all the information being blasted at me from spots, media and flyers everywhere and how can I tell whatıs right for me?
4. What does it matter presidentially if the electoral college really decides? Or, in a state like California where everyone says the presidential race is already decided, why should I even bother to come out?
5. What does a vote for a third party candidate mean? and
6. Iım so confused!
Confusion is a HUGE stumbling block to voting and it is important that we make information available to one another to make change through this election season. TEEN POWER POLITICS is a good tool. There are others as well and the Internet is a great resource.
Remember that it is overwhelming for all of us to try to educate ourselves as to all of the votes we are asked to cast. My response to the questions about the education process and I suggest it to you all (and will use it myself!):
a. Form discussion groups among your friends or fellow students, similar to book club/reading groups.
b. Assign a candidate(s) or issue (s) to individuals to research.
c. Get together before the election. Listen to the findings and discuss! Your vote is still always your own. You just may be better informed.
And, for those of you who don't vote because of age or citizenship or other factors, you have a powerful contribution to make here as you educate others as to your issues of concern and how the outcome of the election of various candidates or issues can affect you directly.
3. REMAINING REGISTRATION & ABSENTEE BALLOT DEADLINES
Here in California, voter registration has closed. And absentee ballot requests and filings are looming.
Deadlines for requests vary as do voter registration dates. In some states you still have time to register! The best site: http://www.election.com/us/deadlines.htm with all the deadlines for registration, absentee ballots (through the Internet or otherwise) and state contact information.
You might also see if your state provides early voting sites, places where you can cast your vote several weeks prior to the election... often set up at movie houses or shopping malls! (Check out TEEN POWER POLITICS: MAKE YOURSELF HEARD Chapter 5 for new and pretty cool ways that we can make change through the electoral process!).
Some of you may prefer an absentee ballot even if at home if your state permits it. I am embarrassed to say that with this book coming out, even I almost forgot to go to the polls for this last spring's important primary! Planning to go late in the day, I left for my evening appointment forgetting again and had to pull a 180 back to my polling place to ensure that I cast those important votes, the presidential primary being only one of many races affecting me, my family, my friends, my community and my nation!
4. MORE TERRIFIC SITES!
To help you educate yourself and others, here are some new sites including several that are representative of specific cultural or racial approaches. I strongly recommend we all tune in to as many different viewpoints as possible as the ramifications of legislation and representation on all parts of our nation affect us all.
a. THE SOUTHWEST VOTER REGISTRATION PROJECT. SVREP is the powerful voter registration group in Western & Southwestern states working with Latino Vote 2000 to mobilize one million new voters in 2000. SVREP, along with Northeast Voter Registration Education Project (NVEP) & the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI), hope to bring the national total to 8 million Latino registered voters. I have spent time with Antonio Gonzalez, his staff and good serious citizens at the professional Latino Academy seminars conducted by SVREP, was impressed by some of the high school students involved and know that we need to support these efforts to bring more citizen voices to the table.
b. TAKE A FRIEND TO VOTE, a League of Women Voters site. Their words: "We hope you accept the Take a Friend to Vote Campaign challenge. Talk with your friends and family about issues and candidates' positions, and how they may affect you and your community. Ask them to vote this year and have them sign the Take a Friend to Vote Pledge Sheet. If you and your friends are not registered or need to find out where to vote, call the election officials in your state. When Election Day draws near, send each person a postcard to remind them to vote!"
BTW, there are also postcards on my website and tell me if they work for you.
c. THE CENTER FOR VOTING AND DEMOCRACY proposes reinvigorating our system with new approaches to democracy including proportional representation, instant runoff voting and other issues that may stand in the way of our interest in our sometimes cumbersome process. They announced today the results of a terrific "Why Don't We Vote Essay" Contest (9000 entries from young people!) with innovative approaches to electoral reform. The essays are posted on their site. For those of you who are youth and those working with youth, it is important that we look at new proposals for our system. The discussion and examination is more than worth the effort. This is a flexible democracy after all.
Check out TEEN POWER POLITICS for another examination of various election reform proposals.
d. Another good election information site: DEMOCRACY NET (DNet). Enter your zip code to find who is running for offices on your ballot and where the candidates stand on your issues.
e. GRASSROOTS.COM partners with DNet & the League of Women Voters on many election issues. A seemingly one stop network, it brings issues and opinions to you and lets you make the decisions as to your own involvement from concerns over social services & housing, sweatshop information, and groups like Working Women for Change. Become a major activist through the options Grassroots.com provides for you.
f. POLITICALLY BLACK.COM is a great site for issues of concern to the African American community. "Put an X on It" for Gen X voters and Gen Y is direct & compelling. Their links are great.
SEVERAL ONLINE MAGAZINES AND NEWSLETTERS THAT I LIKE:
a. POLITICO MAGAZINE Their statement: "Politicomagazine.com delivers timely news and analysis of political events and culture impacting the Latino community nationwide. An online magazine and weekly e-letter, Politico brings you features, spot news and analysis about events from your home town to the halls of Congress." It is comprehensive in bringing articles from other important papers and websites.
b. Arianna Huffington's companion site is to her book, HOW TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT. She has a great weekly newsletter and a definite point of view and whether one agrees or no, always worthy of serious thought.
c. JINN is the online magazine of the Pacific News Service. Articles contain the perspective of underrepresented people in the media. Although emanating from California, it covers nationwide and global issues. YO! YOUTH OUTLOOK, written by and for youth, is particularly thorough and thought-provoking with articles on aspects of real life experiences. It is syndicated nationwide through the PNS wire. The reporters are ages 14-25! d. And of course, SLATE.COM (http://www.slate.com). Always incisive. I subscribe to (and pay for) their daily newsletter update for Scott Shugar's take on the news and analysis of key headlines in at least four major newspapers (NYTimes, LATimes, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post) is a great way to inform oneself, especially on a busy morning.
5. OTHER INFO
TUESDAY (today or tomorrow depending upon when you read this) IS THE LAST DEBATE!!!
If you haven't viewed them before, watch this one, a town hall format with questions from - hopefully - real people. Let's hear what our candidates truly say!!!
We haven't many more days left in this election cycle. Perhaps it is time to be thinking past it, to the future in terms of our involvement as our concerns do not end the day after elections. There are needs within our communities and our worlds we can fulfill. There will be problems to educate, protest about and work to eradicate. And there will be the means to do so: existing now in formal politics or service, or new ones you or your friends will create.
The Internet is becoming an valuable tool for ideas, communication and networking, but there are others as well. I would love to start hearing about more ideas for change from all of you.
And let others know about the information contained here. Send it on to friends and associates and/or send me email addresses you would like me to add to my list. The more informed we are, the better community it will be for all of us. Check out TEEN POWER POLITICS: MAKE YOURSELF HEARD and its companion website, http://www.teenpowerpolitics.com. TPP was written as a guide and a tool for activism. If ever that tool was needed, it is now.
Thanks for taking the time to read this!
Sara Jane Boyers
(c) 2000 Sara Jane Boyers