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by Ben Marcus
August 12, 2004

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Where do I begin to express my frustration with my fellow liberal youth of this country? Every one of us, no matter what age, needs to work for a more progressive and tolerant society. With illegal drug use, inner city crime on the rise and tens of millions of people out of work or earning less than $8.75 an hour, it’s up to the youth of America to step up to the plate.

The fact so many of today’s “progressive” youth have fallen into the corporate political party fold this time and decided to vote for the type of candidate we complain about says something about us. It says to the older generations they have plenty more time in power, not being challenged. It says they can continue to issue empty promises of tuition breaks and better funding for public schools and universities and never follow up on them or even worse, raise tuition and cut college funding and we will not complain. It says our generation is going to get slapped with a huge deficit and an evermore toxic environment. It says the first generation to have total access to the rest of the world via technology cannot fathom the energy to take well enough advantage of it to start building bridges with other future world-leaders to create a more unified Mother Earth.

Whatever happened to fighting for keeping American jobs here, or more affordable housing, or decriminalizing non-violent drug offenses, or the millions of other wrongdoings against our generation by the current? I thought that we, as the heirs to the proverbial throne, were ready to change the paradigm to a more just, peaceful and humane world?

My candidate of choice this election is Ralph Nader. He has proven to me he truly fights in the interests of Americans and not himself or business interests. He has proven to me with a 40+ year track record he knows what he’s doing and how to get things done. He has proven to me with his comprehensive job plan, the economy and job market will expand under him as President. He has proven to me under his extensive universal health care plan, every single American will be able to walk into a hospital and get the help they need. He has proven to me that it is possible to peacefully remove our troops from a country that doesn’t want us there and still do our share to help rebuild. He has shown he is serious about challenging the corporate control of our government and create a government “of, by and for the people.”

John Kerry has proven nothing to me. He has not proven to me he works in the public interest. He has not proven to me he will help to create jobs. He has not proven to me his health care plan will do anything but open expensive health insurance to people who can’t afford it. He has not proven to me that he is against the Universal Service Act of 2003 (Bill S 89 IS and HR 163 IH) which will draft millions of unsuspecting 18 to 26 year olds into the United States Military and send them to places where we are not desired. Indeed, in his rhetoric he promises to continue the occupation of Iraq, not repeal the Patriot Act and not challenge Israel and truly seek peace in the Middle East.

Of course, President Bush has shown all the world that he is a militarist, corporatist and claims to be guided by conversations with God. Obviously he is also a propagandist – a “compassionate conservative,” who has shown little compassion; a “uniter not divider” who has presided over the most divisive government I can remember; and a “reformer with results” who has instituted policies that solidify the corporate hold – the status quo’s control of our government.

This is my message to young Americans. Your vote is more valuable and more precious than you can imagine. Your vote is what gives you a voice in this country to stand up for what you think is right and good. It’s what gives you a right to complain. Every party and candidate is fighting hard for your vote because they know whoever has it, wins. It’s as simple as that, so here’s a way to decide who deserves your vote. For every promise and every statement a candidate makes, ask the questions how and why. If that person is not able to give a good clear answer, he or she does not deserve your vote.

Let’s not fall for having to vote for the lesser of evils – it is time to vote for the greater good.

Make an educated vote, not one based on fear, because in the words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Ben Marcus is National Campus Coordinator of Nader for President 2004. HE can be reached at: