The demographics of the 2016 Democratic primaries are striking. Exit polls in state after state show that people under 30 vote overwhelmingly for Bernie Sanders, while those over 50 favor Hillary Clinton.
Bernie and I are the same age- 74. We emerged as adults during the 60's; one of our slogans was "don't trust anyone over 30". We saw the world in a new way, hard for our parents to understand. We knew that racism was unacceptable and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King. We refused to fight the Vietnam War. We understood that humans couldn't go on despoiling the planet, and we developed ecological consciousness. We were idealistic, and believed we could change things.
Assassinations, drugs and the war on drugs, consolidation of the media, and many other factors threw a wet blanket on our dreams. Many of our generation abandoned their idealism and joined the establishment.
Things are worse now in some ways- racism still abounds and has extended to Hispanics and Muslims; wars are using more horrible weapons, and are now fought with volunteers and drones rather than draftees; the ecological situation is out of control. Fracking and nuclear pollution have increased. The gap between rich and poor in this country has grown enormously.
Some of us from the 60's, however, have continued to talk the talk and walk the walk. Bernie Sanders is one; many of my readers probably fall into the same category. We have been trying for decades to bring the values we developed 50 years ago into the present. Finally, Bernie's plan for political revolution is resonating with the young people of today.
Bernie's podium is adorned with a sign that says "A Future to Believe In". This is not mere rhetoric. The planet is heating up. Superstorms, drought, flooding, nuclear accidents are becoming the norm. It's hard to imagine what the world will be like in 50 years, or even 20, if things don't change drastically, right now. This election is absolutely crucial for young people. What have they to look forward to if any other candidate wins and it's business as usual? With a Sanders presidency, there's a chance for the needed changes to take place.
Don't older people care about the future of their children and grandchildren? Can't they understand the despair that young people feel about the challenges they face? Why won't they vote for Bernie's political revolution?
The sixties were epitomized by Bob Dylan's song "The Times They are A-changing" . The last verse goes:
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'
As true now as it was then. Thank you, Bernie Sanders and all who support him, for keeping the flame alive.