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    Posted November 23, 2012 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Being black in 2012

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    Millennial Politics

    When Barack Obama won a second term as President, similar to 2008, his re-election was largely attributed to the impression that his candidacy had on young voters and the hope it signified for many voters including myself who had either lost hope or no longer believed their voices mattered within the political arena of the world.In 2008, the idea of having someone in office that was different from all the presidents that held office before him made younger and older generations across the globe passionate about political issues and the possibilities that existed for us as well as the type of change and unity that having a new face in office to represent Americacould bring. According to research, even though there was a significant amount of elderly first time voters in 2012; there were an even larger amount of first time millennialvoters that were also eligible to vote because every year since the previous election, millions of millennial voters have been added to the list of eligible voters.

    In the four years since President Obama took office the first time, the support of the younger generation did change a little. As both young men and women became very interested in understanding the political process and many of their views were impacted by the recession. Various media outlets suggest the impact of the recession on the young not only created discouragement about politics in generalbut the impact of the slow recovery was something political leadershad to take to heart.
    Like many Americans, tough economic times have younger voters deeply concerned about the future of the American economy and very focused on the role and actions of the President.
    Many millennialshave either experienced first hand or witnessed the direct impact the declined economy has had on unemployed parents or loved ones who haven’t been able to secure gainful employment or decent salaries. In addition to needing job opportunities, security and benefits for themselves, millennials are just as concerned about how the struggles of their families and the rest of America will get turned around.

    I was able to connect with two millennial voters to learn their political views, choices and which issues resonated with them the most when nominating their political candidate. Included are responses from two 18 year-old young men who are both recent Georgia high school graduates and who both are currently attending college away from home. Both students were extremely confident about their political views and more than willing to share them. My purpose was not only to allow them to express the importanceof the 2012 presidential electionand what it meant to first time millennial voters but to also encourage and support the importance of utilizing their new found right to vote.

    From the perspective of first time Millennial Voter Vidal Jones of Atlanta, Georgia, currently attending college at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia.

    Jones pictured above

    “Being black, there seemed to be a heavy influence to vote democratic but I didn’t allow outside views that don't actually support the views affect me.
    After watching the debates, I could was indecisive on which party I would vote for. There were some broken promises from the president and some hopeful ideas from the other side. Being in college, most of my friends were echoing "Mitt wants to take away our grants!" whether that's true or not I believed it was fair enough to give him a chance. The work Romney did in Massachusetts, though much of it was already in place before he got there, is outstanding. His business experience in my opinion also gave him an upper hand in that area. On the other hand, Obama is for the middle class. It was all pretty jumbled to me for a long time.

    From the perspective of first time Millennial Voter Babatunde Woodard-James of Atlanta, Georgia, currently attending Columbia University in New York.

    Woodard-James (2nd left) pictured above with high school peers
    Political Preferences: I am strongly liberal.
    Did I Vote? I did! I requested an absentee ballot but much to my chagrin it took more time to receive it than anticipated.
    Why I Voted? There are a few reasons why I voted:
    1) America is a democracy. A flawed democracy that still uses the outdated Electoral College and has suppressed votes from non-WASPs for the better half of its history (and continues to do so), but it is a pretty good model nonetheless that allows for an unparalleled freedom toexpress one's opinions and hold their government accountable in comparison to the rest of the world. Why not use it?
    2) It is important to participate in your government. The strongest deterrent to anything in the world is apathy and therefore detachment. By not being involved in the political process, you sign your life away to those who do, which is not a smart move considering that their actions will affect you regardless. On a more constructive note, political participation means that your voice is heard
    3) Our ancestors as Black Americans literally fought and died for the opportunities provided by political engagement. Whether by seeking inclusion and equal opportunity under the laws of this country or seeking mechanisms of sovereignty in some shape or form, our predecessors understood that political participation was a must, not an option. Many gave their lives for this cause. We owe it to them to exercise our right to vote.
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