By Maya Pope-Chappell


In January, my generation of voters took a break from the distractive amenities of camera phones, myspace, and YouTube, to cast their vote during the primary elections here in California.

As a 24 year-old who has only been able to vote in one other presidential election, I walked into the polling place near my home in Oakland on Super Tuesday eager to cast my vote for Barack Obama. Not because he’s a Black man, although that is an added plus both personally and historically, but because he brings hope and commitment to change that is needed in America.

My cousin Josephine* on the other hand, a 65 year old woman who grew up in the South and witnessed racism first hand, voted for Hillary Clinton.

“What’s up with that?,” I wondered.

“I voted for her strictly based on her experience,” said Josephine. “I feel that the country has a lot of problems and she is better equipped to tackle some of the problems that the country has. And her husband was a good president in the past, especially what he did for Blacks.”

“Is she her husband?” I thouhght to myself.

“Is her husband running for President? No. Hmmm.”

My cousin and I represent a generational divide between the two democratic frontrunners; the split among younger voters who support Obama, and older voters who back Clinton. According to primary exit polls, Obama is leading among voters under 30, whereas Clinton is gaining more support from voters over 50.

As my cousin pointed out, many older people are voting for Clinton because they want to see the Clintons back in the White House. It is this mentality of settling and comfort that annoys me as a young voter. My main point here is simple: “Why go backwards?”

I don’t want Bill back. It’s time to move forward. Despite Obama’s “inexperience,” I believe he can change the direction of America. In fact, I believe his inexperience will allow him to question current policies and go against the status quo.

Obama’s appeal to youth is couched in his charisma, intelligence, cool factor, and promise to bring a difference to the nation. Often compared to Kennedy and King, Obama brings a message of hope that inspires.

At the end of the day, I believe its not about race. It’s about CHANGE. Are you ready for change?