Ari's column that never was
This piece was writen about a week ago, with hopes of reaching a wide audience (well, wider than the bunch of loonies who stumble across the blog, anyhow) via the opinion page of one of our nation's newspapers. Alas, after emails to nine - yep, nine - newspapers, and just two responses, both negative, it's time to concede that it's not going to make it to those great heights. Instead, the residents of blogsville can read it for themselves. Now wouldn't this look better in the Herald Sun than Andrew Bolt's ranting?:
Election 2004: First time voters
On Saturday week, 600,000 young people will cast their first ever vote in a federal election. Some will walk into the polling both with great confidence in their step and follow through on a voting intention that they have been waiting years to express. Most, however, will saunter in filled with uncertainty, and cast a ballot with little enthusiasm. It’s not the often tut-tutted youth apathy that is at work, however, but a lacklustre campaign that has failed to capture the imagination of young voters.
Young voters are notoriously difficult to communicate with and shun many of the traditional outlets that parties use to spread their message. It is no surprise that young voters are remarkably cynical about politics and elections and don’t respond to the well-worn path of pork-barrelling and self-interest that is used to appeal to other demographics. This cynicism is no accident. It is the product of the entire politically-aware life of first time voters being in the era of Howard as Prime Minister. First timers have known nothing but the steady hands of John Howard on the wheel. They are therefore strongly affected by Howard’s approach to politics. The deceptions and loose approach to the truth that many commentators attribute to Howard has a greater affect on young voters than on others, because they have experienced no alternative to it. It’s inevitable that inexperienced voters who see the verbal trickery of Howard will generalise that characteristic to all politicians, and adopt a rather Platonic attitude of ‘damn the lot of ‘em’.
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