Thinking About Hillary — A Follow-up
Michael Arnovitz
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As a person under 30 who is politically active and whose actual line of work is reaching out to young people, getting out the vote, and trying to stimulate political awareness within my generation, I find the tone of your ‘quiz’ insulting. I understand what you’re trying to convey, and I actually agree with you. However, your tone is demeaning, and if you want to have a conversation with someone, especially when you’re trying to educate them about something, you speak with them, not at them.

“No matter how much we plead for you to get involved … the majority of you steadfastly refuse to express any interest in voting.”

First off, it’s worth pointing out that the U.S. has a horrifically low voter turnout in general. It’s not as if young people somehow unique in their “refusal” to go out and vote. Yes, older generations have a better record on getting out the vote. But I don’t see what the point of a ‘whose the more diligent voting group’ finger pointing does.

And to that point, I don’t understand what the point of this seemingly random attack on my generation had in your article. What argument are you fighting against? That we are too opinionated for not being a reliable voting body? Perhaps — but again, voting turnout is horrific in the U.S. across the spectrum. Just because young people are on the bottom rung of the list of groups with low voter turnout doesn’t mean they should have all the blame.

All in all, I actually am supportive of your original article and your follow-up. I suppose I am just perplexed at the random, belittling attack on my generation. There are a lot of us out there who actually are politically conscious, vote regulatory, and contribute to reasonable debate.

And I don’t think you are trying to attack or blame the ‘youth vote’ at all. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if a young person spent time to read both of your articles, then they aren’t the ones you need to be foisting a ‘quiz’ at. When you say phrases like “you know those old people you make fun of” (generalizing my generation) and “nobody needs to go to the bother of suppressing your vote” (again, what’s the point of this attack besides some sort of personal vendetta?) — it’s demeaning. “Somehow there is no end to your bitter and entitled disappointment.” This isn’t an adult conversation you’re having … putting aside the arguments against the many one-off phrases you threw out, your style of talking to a group of people is disturbing.

This piece would have been a lot better if you omitted this section. It had nothing to do with your original article, and only seemed to be a personal rant of some sort. And if it wasn’t the case, you should have written it so that it wasn’t like that. After reading it I felt like I missed some dramatic event or comment-war you had with someone, because I again can’t fathom what triggered the attack.

And again, attacks are welcomed. And you did provide some evidence (which I’m not even debating at the moment). But your tone and how you talked to us — and you engaged in a personal tone with us, saying “you” frequently and enlisting us in a quiz — was a distraction from your piece, was snarky, and immature. Again, if you’re going to try to educate a group of people, or merely have a debate with them, unprofessional demeaning tones don’t help. A teacher or a parent could have told you that.

There’s no universal secret to speaking with a kid, a teenager, a college student, or anyone else in my generation — talk to them, not down to them, converse with them as you yourself would want to be engaged.