i negotiated space for a full-length op-ed in monday's edition of the badger herald. here are excerpts of what i whipped up:


Like you, I am a young voter. We are part of a generation that cyclically faces the stigma of being disinterested, disillusioned, disconnected. Youth are lazy. Youth are apathetic. Young people don’t pay attention to current affairs or politics. Though I’ve always been engaged with the community and world around me, this is the first time in my life that I can really taste the relevance of an election. What in previous years might have been more of an academic flexing of my ideology is now somehow more real. This time, it’s personal.

Our senses have been assaulted by the barrage of election-related messages. It’s been sensory overload with the TV and radio ads, articles, debates, punditry, and speechifying. Sure, we have been saturated by sound bites and slogans, but when you peel away the layers of rhetoric – thrust upon us by both sides – you’re left with a handful of very simple truths.

While many candidates have touted the importance of youth participation and aggressively courted our votes, their actions speak louder than words. In a recent act of unmitigated gall, the College Republicans and Students for Magnum mailed a literature piece to the UW residence halls containing confusing information about campus polling locations. It can only be surmised as an intentional move to suppress the student vote—as if we needed another example of how the Republicans will do whatever it takes to pillage their way to victory.

We won’t let the Republicans have it both ways. Young people overwhelmingly understand that electing leaders like John Kerry, Russ Feingold, and Tammy Baldwin is the right choice for those of us who have weathered the destructive policies of the Bush administration, and who desire so passionately a better world.

Our vote – the so-called young generation – is as critical a factor as the hyped battleground states. You and I hold in our hands the power to alter the course of US domestic and foreign policy with the casting of our ballots tomorrow. And I think we should do it. Not because it’s our democratic right. Not because both parties are begging us to. Not because it’s cool.

We’re voting for our lives. The Republicans must be fired. We need to elect a government of people who give a shit about what we go through. Don’t sit this one out, ok? Vote tomorrow – it’s time to take things personally.

Adam Klaus, Madison, Wisconsin
Chair, Associated Students of Madison, 1999-2000


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