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Frustrated for the future

First I was furious.  Later I just wanted to cry.

I had taken my car in for servicing here locally today, Primary Election Day in Montana.  When I was checking out, the young lady behind the counter commented on the “I Voted” sticker that had been on my shirt since early this morning when I went to my polling place.

“What were you voting on today?” she asked, nodding to the sticker with a polite smile.

“The Primary Election is today!  HAVEN’T YOU VOTED YET?”

She replied, “Oh, I didn’t know there was an election today.  I never heard anything about it.”

“You’re kidding!” I responded. “This is a really important election with a very competitive sheriff’s race, among other things.”  How could she not have known, when there were campaign signs on every corner, articles and ads in the papers, candidate forums, and lots of talk about it in every cafe in the county?”

“So how do you know who to vote for?” she queried.

“Research!  Read the papers, learn what’s going on, talk to people, and form opinions for yourself.”

She rolled her eyes and said, “Oh, I guess I did get something in the mail about it and I was supposed to read it, but I never got around to it. Between being pregnant, working, and trying to get enough sleep, it just didn’t happen.”

At this point her coworker, who was also probably under 30, chimed in. “Yeah, same here.  Working 60 hours a week, I just don’t have time for that stuff.”  

I reminded them they could have voted absentee, or taken 10 minutes on their way to or from work to vote at their polling places.  “For that matter, your employer should give you time off to go vote, if that’s what it takes.”  That got a good laugh.

Obviously both of their excuses were lame, but I couldn’t have convinced them of that.  So I asked, “Well, you’re going to vote in the General Election, won’t you?”

The young man muttered, “Uh, I don’t know.  What is that?”

Suddenly I felt like Jessie Watters interviewing mind-dead millennials on Venice Beach.  I explained what the General Election was and couldn’t resist asking, “You know when the General Election is, right?” 

He chuckled, “No.”

So I explained it was in November and asked  “Didn’t you learn any of this in school?”

They both responded, “Nah, not really” and laughed it off.

Before I finally left, I suggested to them that the $5/gallon gasoline was BECAUSE OF THEM...people who didn’t care enough to get involved and take an active part in running their own country and electing responsible leadership.  I was tempted to ask them if they had a clue what happened on June 6, 1944...when 4,414 servicemen died that day to protect their right to go to their polling places in Plains.

Utter frustration turned to tears by the time I’d driven home.  How could seemingly respectable, “educated” young citizens have such little regard or understanding of what they have? 

I blame their parents, and I blame the public school system for not teaching history and instilling in them how blessed they are in this unique country where hundreds of thousands of men and women have sacrificed their lives for these young people’s right to govern themselves through voting. Is it really more important to the schools to preach pronouns and gender identity than it is to educate? If the future of our country is in the hands of young people like these, who appear to be the norm, then the future of the United States is very, very bleak.

Jan Manning, Trout Creek


Reader Comments(1)

GunnerJ writes:

Thank you, Jan! It still is a reoccurring cycle of anger to anguish for some of us; to know that less than 50% of registered voters voted in Sanders County (not adults but registered voters). Less than 40% of MT registered voters actually did. Infuriating the excuses. Thank you for letting others know they bear responsibility for what we all are going through; and it isn't a laughing matter. We had multiple people ask who to vote for; who didn't attend any forums; or want to do any research.

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