Many people are
asking right now: “What happened to ‘we are the ones, we’ve been waiting for’?”
And, in many ways, rightfully so. Where are the young Americans who flooded the
streets and voiced their support for Barack Obama and his solutions for our
country? As a young person, I know that these supporters have not disappeared.
Day after day, young Americans continue to voice their support for real
health care reform, but are merely being shouted over by those who wish to see
If the president
is to pass his health care legislation, he must tap into the core base of
support the helped him win the 2008 elections—a core that consists significantly of young Americans. As of now, the conversation has been hijacked
by lies of death panels and misinformation about Medicare reimbursements. The
opposition has taken abstract terms and turned them in fear tactics to scare
those who are already frightened by the unsustainable path the private
health care insurance industry finds itself.
must counter this by framing the health care legislation as an investment in the
future and need not allow the opposition to call it generational theft. He must
continue to use his intelligent, professorial nature to explain to young people
the benefits of the program for the
future—not only the present. He must cite specifics and debunk the rumors
with clear and practical fact. After all, young people were impressed by his
knowledge and gravitated towards him as a candidate for this reason.
There are those
who say young Americans supported Obama only because of his rhetorical prowess.
I beg to differ and express that our generation is much smarter than that.
While his rhetoric definitely attracted us to him, students and young Americans
across the country looked deeper and found his policies to be a contrast to the
last eight years, sensible, practical, and in-tact with the core values they
see for their own country. I challenge anyone to tell a member of our
generation that we only support the President for his rhetoric.
With that in
mind, the President must revert back to his rhetorical skills to reengage young
Americans. We are among the most effective in mobilizing his message and
proved this during the campaign. We are not dumb and most importantly we do
care about our futures and the problems that our country faces today. And, the
president knows that.
So, why not
continue to speak to us? We ‘baracked’ the vote for you in November, now please
include us in this pivotal debate about health care! For, when Barack Obama
speaks, young people listen. And if he spoke to us, we could do the job for
One of the major tenets of Obama for America was to use trust in spreading
the campaign’s ideals and policies. Now, we are tasked with convincing a rather
fed up American public that the health care problems we face today can in fact
be fixed. Why not revert back to this policy and mobilize young people to speak
with their parents, their grandparents, their friends, and families? After all,
I’d venture to guess older Americans would be much more likely to understand
the gravity of this issue when young Americans come to them alarmed about the
state of their future health care system.
On a final note,
young people must also understand some core elements of the president’s
proposal to do this and must passionately believe in them for this legislation
to pass. First, while we are among the healthiest in the country, we have an
obligation to purchase health care. This is not some lifeless government
mandate, but a practical and sensible necessity that affects the lives of
millions of Americans. If we get sick, which we cannot predict, it is not fair
for us to inflict the cost of our sickness onto other American’s pocketbooks.
As the president says, and as so many of us believed during the campaign, “we
are our brother’s keeper, we are our sister’s keeper.”
Second, we must
turn the tables on the opposition by pointing towards the unemotional health
insurance companies for turning down preexisting condition patients and rationing care amongst our loved ones.
Young people are not as cynical about government as older Americans can tend to
be and quite frankly we must express that fact. We are not looking to
place government bureaucrats in between patients and doctors, but will not
stand for private industry bureaucrats to play that same role either.
Third, while I personally believe the public option is key to real reform, we must not hold it so close as to forget about the above reforms that will literally change lives. It would be a shame for Americans to continue to be turned away and rationed care by the health care insurance companies only because we could not agree on one key component of a much larger bill. We need not get caught up on the public option, as much as we want it, or risk losing all progress. Let's get key elements of real reform and not lose everything for one component.
the president must start talking to young voters or is potentially losing a
final push that could put his legislation through the Congress. The message, as
convoluted as it is, is far too geared towards things that do not relate to
young people—like Medicare, death panels, and 'rationing' by the government. The president must
give us the talking points we need about affordability and coverage to speak
with the individuals who trust us in our lives and tell them why we support the president. It’s his last
chance simply because he has, to this point, failed in communicating with
those that we hold closest to our hearts—our family members and friends.