imgres-1I caught this photo this past week of Vivienne Westwood in Britain with a shirt on that said “Don’t Let an Older Generation Decide Your Future.  Register to Vote”.  It really struck me.

Then I watched Bernie Sanders give his speech detailing his future plans.  There is no doubt based on the stats of Bernie’s voters that he got out the vote for the young and sparked a flame pointing out the issues that the youth is frustrated by.  I get it.

Towards the end of his speech he challenges the young to get involved in politics, to embrace politics as a platform to incite change.

Years ago, in the mid-90’s, when the tech scene was just starting in NYC, there were more than a handful of politicians who came and talked to people who were interested in politics.  I was one of them.  These politicians wanted us to come to Capitol Hill and talk on a panel for senators.  Not one of us had any interest in that.  After all, why didn’t they use technology to talk to us?  Didn’t they see the future?

Fast forward the private world has jumped ahead of the back end (and front end) of the political world to the point where the disconnect is a huge divide.  I don’t see many kids interested in running for office who are really big picture, deep thinking intellects yet that is what we need.  The young seem more disenfranchised with politics for good reason.  There were over a dozen candidates that ran for the Republican nomination and the majority of them are egomaniacs who are backed by one person with very deep pockets using the delegate as a puppet.  How can the youth get excited about getting involved with politics when they see the power game being played out in Washington with no care about the people.

The message that Westwood wore on her t-shirt is spot on.  There is a deep divide between the youth and the older generation.  Technology is changing our world.  The youth see where we are going and politics doesn’t appear to engage, excite or give the youth a reason to get to the polls or get involved.

Not sure how we change this but certainly rolling back the amount of no limits from private individuals through PACS  who give huge sums of cash to a candidate thanks to the Supreme Court might be a step in the right direction.  As for Britain, I hope the youth get out the vote because it is their future more than anything else that is being voted on this week.

Comments (Archived):

  1. TanyaMonteiro

    “People are the CEO of their future, and politicians are just consultants” (inspired by a quote your husband posted but am applying it to allot). Every Country seems to be having this crisis right now.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Every country is definitely having a crisis. Or is it that we know more now because of media?

      1. TanyaMonteiro

        good question, my gut says both

  2. Matt Kruza

    pretty sure our politics run about as far opposite as is possible on many issues, but I think I do and certainly hope I fall into the camp of what you seek in terms of young leaders with a very diverse and nuanced position on a wide array of public policy leaders and certainly after a successful startup career hope to have many opportunities to llead on a national level. One thing I think we agree on and frankly should be the starting point for reform is changing the money dynamics. We all get being business women and men that money talks a lot, and we need to get big money (wealthy individuals, unions, banks / hedge fundres etc.) from dominating so we can get new candidates that aren’t beholden, and then we can reach sincere compromises and discussions of the issues. Campgain finance reform is key, but instead of trying to regulate how much to spend, we need to offer viable public funding through matches. Basic formula of 4 to 1 match per dollar up to $250 per citizen (i recommend this for each person’s senate, house and then president. If you donate outside yoru district you can, but no public match if its not YOUR representative). With this model bernie could have raised almost $800 million (insane in itself) and many others could raise the $1-10 million needed for house and senate. To get the matching dollars, they can’t take more than $1,000 from anyone. Poliiticans would have to signal a year in advance whether big money (from either side) would fund them or the people. We can tweak ration (from 2 to 10 to 1), and put aggregate caps etc, but this is the framework. The tag line is basically spend a dime out of everyone $100 bill so the other $99.90 is not corrupted. ($7 billion per 2 year election cycle vs 7-8 trillion federal spending every 2 years). ONly state who is remotely close is maine as far as i can tell, and they have already faced supremem court challenges and have modified its system. Just wanted to throw out some rough ideas and offer hope. This is an issue I have deeply thought on, researched, and wanted to start the conversation. And more broadly we definitely are out here and will figure this out. Our generation won’t let you down 🙂

    1. JLM

      .When one sees what campaigns spend money on — attack ads as an example — it is difficult to see why a carpenter working 40 hours and wanting to work 60 hours should have his hard earned tax dollars support such nonsense.There is a tendency to disconnect the source of the money and the use of the money.Go tell a carpenter, who has seen his hourly wage decline over the last 7 years while his family health insurance has skyrocketed, that your use of his money for campaigns is a better use than investing in his own family.This is income reallocation for egotistic narcissists. Why?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Matt Kruza

        Surprised to hear this opinion jlm. The reason a carpenter’s wages have gone done (partly of course, not 100%), and health insurance up, is because the people in office have been funded not by them and other “normal americans”, but my big money interests on both sides. By restoring the funding / power to normal americans, they will see better policies for them and the broad base of this country over a sufficient period of time

        1. JLM

          .OMG, you actually believe that?Haha, that is just so goofy as to be sarcasm.The public funding of political campaigns would limit the influence of billionaires — in campaigns. It would not limit their influence in life or politics.Witness the use of a Canadian charitable conduit by the Clinton Foundation to obscure from whence the money comes to them.Canadian charities may distribute their largesse in a single check and not identify from whence those funds originated.There are no limits to how much a sovereign nation can “contribute” to charity. Why else would Saudi Arabia — a backward nation which stones gay people — use this conduit?Particularly understanding that a charitable contribution to a Canadian charity would not lessen the Saudi American tax liability?Why would anyone accept such blood money?The magnitude of financial corruption loose in the world is pervasive and the American political system is but a drop in the bucket.You are so sweetly naive as to make me want to weep a bit.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. Matt Kruza

            You are so bitterly cynical as to make me cringe 🙂 (we both can play the hyperbole game!) They donate to the charity because they want the clintons and others insider influence. This would be much less effective if corrupt people llike the cllintons didn’t get the funding from said corrupt sources. There is no doubt that corruption will always exist, but surely there is a continuum and scope of magnitude? You will agree current system is less than ideal right? So what is your solution? I have put a detailed, coherent one, that is already being implemented in some places. what do you propose?

  3. William Mougayar

    The message on that T-shirt is very powerful.

    1. awaldstein

      Yup but it is going to take a lot more than a slogan.And I hope it becomes a real movement that drives change. We need it.

      1. William Mougayar

        of course, it’s a starting point, a frame of mind.

      2. pointsnfigures

        shoulda put a hashtag on it

  4. JLM

    .The problem with youth and politics is that young people don’t know enough to master the issues, to understand the system, to want to invest the time to participate, or have the leadership skills to actually form a campaign.This is not a new phenomenon. I don’t think I was even remotely interested in politics — not even the Viet Nam War era chaos of my youth — until I was in my late thirties. Today, I am a member of the county Republican Executive Committee, a Precinct Chair, and an Election Judge.Young people have so much to experience to develop their knowledge and interests. It’s like being a writer. First, you have to have enough life experience to actually possess a tale worth telling.The Bernie statistics are not as you seem to think. He may have the support of the young folk when compared to Hillary but the Dems, this time around, are way, way, way down on turnout.Compared to Obama, there is a decided charisma deficit and the level of voting shows just that. The Republicans, on the other hand, are seeing record turnouts. But, that was clear in the 2014 mid-term elections also.You confuse disenfranchisement with disenchantment. Nobody has been disenfranchised though many are disenchanted. Hell, I’m disenchanted.The sway of money in politics is disgusting. I wouldn’t walk across the street to see or hear either George Soros or the Koch Brothers. Other than having gobs of money, they are, essentially, nobodys. They are creepy, dangerous, weird people.We will only have campaign finance reform when we have a way to debate in depth. If we had meaningful debates which were not “gotcha” questions with sixty second answers, we would be taking a good step in the right direction.We will never have campaign reform until each party is willing to throw their largest financial supporters into the soup. Until then, there will be NO unilateral disarmament.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  5. Kirsten Lambertsen

    That older woman is Vivian Westwood :-)I really liked that Bernie urged people to run for office. It’s quite possible that he’ll inspire a whole bunch of smart youngsters to do just that.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Nice recognition. She’s amazing and not surprising she’s thinking about the future through the youth.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I definitely want to be like her when I grow up 😉

    2. JLM

      .Bernie Sanders is a Pied Piper of failure. A pathetically underachieving man who got his first “real” job at 40 (a “lousy carpenter” by his own admission).He has essentially done nothing other than get on the political teet and suck hard.He is a self-admitted socialist and is really not a Democrat having represented Vermont as an Independent and only caucusing with the Democrats to be able to get lunch.In his political endeavors, he has never proposed and passed a meaningful piece of legislation having had his name added to three bits of legislation as a “co-sponsor” wanting to mine the socialist vote.He will inspire a lot of folks to roll over in their mother’s basement apartment couches and enumerate all the things they say Bernie says they are “entitled” to., such as a free breakfast and a college education.He is easily the least accomplished man to have ever sought the Presidency.He is a loser and other losers will be drawn to his faux leadership.I would vote for Hillary before my hand would even move in the direction of his name.He is exactly what is wrong with America today.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen


        1. JLM

          .I hope that means you are sticking your tongue out at me.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            You’re talking to someone who wants to be Vivian Westwood when she grows up ;-)The entire country could do with a little less of this kind of polarized discourse. I *obviously* don’t think Bernie Saunders is exactly what’s wrong with the U.S. today. I feel baited by this kind of talk.

          2. pointsnfigures

            well, he is a socialist. check out the news reports in countries that have tried it.

  6. Steven Kane

    broadly speaking i agree. but there are pockets of really energized exciting activity going on, where the youthful political leaders of tomorrow are being discovered and nurtured.i work closely with a group called New Politics. The founder, Emily Cherniack, comes out of that incredibly wonderful group, City Year. She is a fantastic non profit entrepreneur and visionary. New Politics is dedicated to identifying and working with young men and women with service backgrounds who may want to run for office. any office. local, state, national, whatever. “service backgrounds” often means military service, but also means peace corps, police officers, etc. The basic premise is, we will all be better of if more elected officials have service backgrounds. Which most did… until the current post-draft era. Now elected officials with service backgrounds are painfully rare.New Politics is non-partisan, and worked with a bunch of candidates from both parties in the 2014 cycle and scored some exciting wins – the biggest one being the election of young Iraq war veteran Seth Moulton, who shocked everyone when he upset the 18 year incumbent in the 6th congressional district in Massachusetts. New Politics is working with many many candidates in races nationwide now in the 2016 cycle. Anyone reading this… want to get involved?

  7. pointsnfigures

    Career politicians on both sides of the aisle. Term limits might help. Unfortunately, both parties have enabled a dangerous fifth estate (the federal bureaucracy). I wish the next President would slash and burn a lot of it. Hillary will not, and if the Republican nominee is Trump I don’t think he is the type that will do it either.With regard to financing, I’d like to see it all online in a searchable data base. No more PACs. Just individual contributions-and corporate/union contributions.

  8. lesile

    Oh man I do think you miss what is going on. Bernie’s followers ( future leaders ARE heeding his call) , to suggest politics is not an interest of this youthful following is to dismiss a mass determination. They ARE signing up to run , they ARE engaged , they DO get it. Watch just one Bernie Sanders Rally , start to finish and tell me those kids don’t GET it? The Revolution will not be televised , but it Will be recorded and viewed multiple millions of times by the folks who will shape this country’s future. That’s a good thing.