Dear 18-year-old me

Last week, I re-registered as a Democrat.

I know what you’re thinking, 18-year-old me. We sold out. We bought into this toxic two-party bullshit. How could we. How dare we.

You know how much I value being an Independent, well, because you’re me. After all, you’re the version of me who went right out and joined the Socialist Party, a tendency which would have gotten us into a lot of trouble once upon a time in our country’s history. I love that about you, 18-year-old me, and trust me when I say that we will always be a Socialist at heart, even if we are now officially Democrats.

I know, barf.

But even Bernie Sanders, who used to be our favorite politician no one had ever heard of, is technically a Democrat now. Now he’s a lot of people’s favorite politician, which I’m sure you recognize as a positive thing.

I didn’t do this for Bernie, though, 18-year-old me, although I will probably vote for him in the primary. I did this for us. Maybe if we lived an open-primary state it wouldn’t come to this, but Maryland’s laws are what they are at the moment and we have to work around them.

The thing is, 18-year-old me, is I think more than ever that we need to participate in every aspect of the political process. I know you agree with me on this score, because we’ve voted in every election we possibly could, starting with a midterm one in 2006. But we have to do more, because so many people aren’t doing anything and it’s becoming so crucial to participate in the political process.

It’s kind of dark times now, 18-year-old me. But I want you to know that we’re still a total idealist exasperated by our society’s cynicism. We still believe in the human capacity to change. And we’re still fighting to save the planet in whatever way we can.

A lot of things didn’t turn out quite how we imagined in the last ten years–and the recession really knocked the wind out of us–but you’re going to be able to deal with it and life’s still going to be interesting, I promise.

Viva la revolución.

Much love,

28-year-old you

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