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Politics: 'That's Just for Old People.'

Nephew Daniel, Rocio and their 4-year-old son, Gabriel

The comment in the headline above came from my millennial - age nephew, Daniel LaVelle, who is about as smart and sharp as anyone I know. And it's something that needs to be addressed if young voters are to be motivated to vote in November.

Daniel's life is exceedingly busy. His time is precious as he balances his multiple roles of spouse, father, grad school student, youth counsellor and employee. In addition, he's writing a book. Nevertheless, he's a voracious reader. His mind is always going. His news source is the internet. He's aware of what is happening around him, doesn't like Trump, and volunteered in Hillary Clinton's election campaign.

But Daniel believes most people his age are not aware; that they are too busy, and to them all of today's political news is just more noise.

He, like many of his generation, is an avid podcast listener.

"There needs to be someone that young people will identify with and listen to who can help us understand what is going on and what that means for our future," he told me today. "Right now, I don't see it. And most people my age just shrug and say, "I don't have time for that, and anyway, politics is for old people."


Do they not understand what their future will be like when President Trump's tax cut and spending spree sends the nation's economy in the tank just as they're getting a toehold on their careers? And what those huge deficits will mean to them and their children?

Do they not realize why it is so difficult now to obtain affordable health insurance and coverage for themselves and their families -- especially if they are self-employed. Do they think about what would happen if they or their family member really got sick? Do they realize that this will only worsen as Trump continues to chip away at every achievement of President Obama?

Do they not realize what the future will be when the Trump administration's attack on the environment and refusal to accept the truth of global warming really kicks into high gear and directly affects their lives, their homes, their families?

Maybe right now they don't care about what happens to Social Security or Medicare because that's a long way off. But they should, because one day they may be caring for their parents and those resources could be gone. And eventually, I hate to break the bad news, they will also be of retirement age and then they'll be wondering what happened.

"Hey, we paid into Social Security. What happened? And didn't there used to be something called Medicare?"

Young political leaders are emerging, and that's a good thing. People like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old Latina who in her first campaign ousted 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in New York's 14th congressional district last month, is a great example.

Many of the Parkland, FL high school students, such as David Hogg, are other examples. The campaign for sensible gun laws that they launched following the Valentines Day massacre at their school, will have a lasting impact and I would not be surprised to see Hogg emerge as a candidate one day.

In my work with the Horry County, SC Democratic Party, I've met young people -- high school and college students -- who are determined not to let the status quo stand. In this very red state, they are standing tall -- even to the point of calling out older, more traditional Democrats for their failure to embrace some of the issues in which they strongly believe.

It is all too easy to become consumed with the many demands that life brings as you work to build a career, provide for your family and balance that with other things that you want to do. But don't say that "politics is for old people." One of these days you will be old and wish you had done something about it when you could.

Meanwhile, we old people better get on the stick and find a way to get these young people involved. They are the key -- not just to the 2018 and 2020 elections, but to the future of our country.

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