UNICEF released last week its 2007 report card on the well-being of children in economically advanced countries. How appalled I was to realize the state of things right here at home. Not only did the United States rank second-to-last in overall child well-being (out of 21 countries) but here is how we fared in each of the individual measured dimensions:
17th in material well-being
21st in health and safety
12th in educational well-being
20th in family and peer relationships
20th in behaviors and risks
My friends, this is unacceptable! How is it that a nation with the resources and opportunities we have is LAST in the health and safety of its own children? How is that the richest nation in the world ranks near the bottom in material well-being?
Our generation has come of age in the shadow of an impeachment scandal, a botched election, a terrorist attack and a war that has cost thousands of American lives. Young voters are consistently the least active at the polls and it’s no wonder, considering how little positive change we have witnessed in our brief adult lives. When we see statistics like these about the state of America’s children, we have every reason to be cynical and jaded.
This is where Barack Obama comes in. He has inspired hundreds of thousands of young folks like us to join his campaign because he has made us believe that we have the power to get this country moving in a different direction. And if we want things to change, we have to start now. Our own future children and grandchildren deserve better.
This is ultimately what Barack the Youth Vote is all about. Barack Obama is blazing a new political trail and has a vision for America that will flip the numbers on their heads. The reason trailblazers succeed is because they have both the courage to call for something different and the good sense to know they can’t do it alone. We are the ones to follow in Obama’s footsteps and ultimately follow through on his vision.
There is no way to predict the results of the 2008 Presidential election. Two years from now we will hopefully be witnessing Barack Obama move into the White House. But if America decides differently, that does not mean we have lost. Whatever happens in these elections, Obama’s legacy is about more than a presidential campaign. He is calling on us to help him make real a vision of a better America. If we answer his call, we have a responsibility to keep going long after the polls close. Obama is mobilizing a new generation of politics…won’t you join us?