Friday, November 2, 2007

Reality Check

It was in that second, that visual, that I felt like I was the closest I had ever been to knowing what it had been like for Justin when he was gunned down in Afghanistan.

The fear, the pride, the courage: all bottled up in this 18-year-old body, willingly placed in a foreign hotbed of trouble, with the knowledge that he might see his last sight, breathe his last breath, feel his last heartbeat.

As I sat in the theater watching Lion of Lambs, tears streamed down my face. The reality of this war overwhelmed me once again, much like in early June when I got a phone call at 2 a.m. asking if I had heard about Justin. He had been killed in Afghanistan. He had been shipped out from Fort Drum just 4 months earlier.

Today in Media & Politics we were talking about how our age group, 18-25, have had the lowest voter turnout to date. We tried to in point the reasons for this trend and ways to get young people involved.

A lot of people said that candidates do not appeal to the younger generation, preoccupied with the storyline of Gossip Girl and the latest celebrity break-up.

"People speculated that Stephen Colbert could be the break through to bringing younger people into politics, getting them interested," my professor said.

But why must we make a mockery of the democratic process and politics in general (Colbert attempted to get on the democrat's primary ballot in South Carolina, for those who haven't read the news) to get young people voting?

"Issues don't matter to kids our age. We're not in the real world yet, so they don't affect us," one student said.

It's true; I might not be directly affected by a large portion of public policy, but there's one issue that affects everyone-- the war in Iraq.

It shouldn't take a draft to light a fire under our generation. Our peers are being shipped out: someone's brother or sister, someone's best friend since childhood, someone's love of their life.

Is it that inconvenient to read a newspaper, to care about our government or to be informed, while other people our age are enduring in boot camps and leaving loved ones and home to go half-way around the world to a completely different and unwelcoming environment?

I wish I was as courageous as Justin to voluntarily go to war.

But I wish just as much that we wouldn't have had to send Justin off in the first place.

Every vote counts.

In Loving Memory of Justin Davis, 1987 - 2006.

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