Forum

Obama is to Hillary as young is to old

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

As the critical Pennsylvania Democratic primary draws ever closer, the Obama-versus-Clinton drama is reaching its boiling point. Hordes of college students across the state and the country have pledged their support for Barack Obama, while a large majority of senior citizens have signed on to support Hillary Clinton.

Obama claims that his campaign is all about change. He continues to bombard us with idealistic propaganda about how he will achieve health care reform, border security, international peace, and a strong economy — all at once. This hopeful rhetoric is appealing to a younger generation, like that which includes you and me. But rather than truly being a rhetoric of hope, Obama’s words are just part of a political ploy, and young people are easy targets because their minds and hearts are filled with enthusiasm and positive thoughts for the future.

Clinton, on the other hand, continues to rant and rave about her experience in the White House and Senate, her knowledge of politics, and her understanding of complex situations; the list is endless. Seeing that older people are generally more resistant to change, all Clinton is doing is disagreeing with Obama’s hopeful rhetoric to secure a bunch of votes. In fact, according to NBC exit polls in early March, she has 59 percent of the votes in the over-60 category and 53 percent of the votes in the 45–59 category.

Obama understands how young people think, and he exploits this knowledge to his advantage. Rather than being about the voters themselves, he recognizes that the younger generation has great unused political potential, and is finding a way to channel it for his own benefit. He’s not doing anything wrong, though — he’s simply playing the political game. In fact, it’s our own fault for not recognizing Obama’s false promises and hollow speeches. In mid-March, an analyst for NBC news reported that 57 percent of people younger than 29 and 54 percent of people in the 30–44 category prefer Obama.

Clinton plays with politics in the same way. During the televised Democratic debates, she discussed her proposed policies as a means of reclaiming America for the people and fixing the problems created by Bush’s Republican era — basically nothing original. To combat Obama’s statement that he would try to talk to Cuba and Iran, Clinton threw a fit about how America never negotiates with leaders that commit atrocities against their own people. Certainly, such a nostalgic approach resonated with senior citizens who still have a great sense of patriotism fueled by World War II and, later, Vietnam. On the other hand, Obama has visited a lot of college campuses and has been seen in various newspapers talking to students. This approach has made him popular among younger voters.

It is time for our generation — and the general public — to realize that modern politicians are concerned more with power than policy, and that — irrespective of race, gender, or social background — they will do almost anything to get votes. But, if tomorrow, lobbyists are in vogue and all of the college students look up to them, it will take less than a second for Obama to switch allegiances and claim that lobbyists are central to the process of freedom and democracy and everything else he would control if elected president. Clinton could pull off something similar and stop her visits to Kosovo and African nations just because her support base does not value humanitarian visits any more.

The old and young population division of Clinton-versus-Obama has been exacerbated by the media, which fails to tell the common citizens that they are being exploited as a pawn in the creation of a political order that is neither representative of nor for the people.