Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Conversations Provide Insight into Next Generation of Democrats, Political Folks

Over the last couple of weeks, I've had a chance to meet a couple of really impressive young Democrats.

Last night on the Johnnystir Show on IndianaTalks.com, I had the chance to speak with one of the leaders in the Indiana High School Democrats organization, Jack Blanchard.

Jack is a student at Herron High School, and, before we went on the air, we had a great discussion about traditional public schools vs. charters and other things.  Once we went on the air, I was absolutely struck by the experiences this guy has had.

As a high schooler, he's already met some of the biggest movers and shakers in state and national politics.  He told me about meeting former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers in Washington.  He said he will soon be off for another young Democrats convention in San Antonio.

Jack also talked about Hillary Clinton and how she inspires him to be a part of the political process.  With that story, I couldn't help but remember my beginnings in politics talking to him, and I told the story of meeting Congresswoman Julia Carson for the first time.  She remains the reason I got involved in politics as deeply as I have, and I continue to remember my first experiences as I got to meet the movers and shakers.  The difference between my experiences and Jack's experiences is that they are coming at least 10 years or so earlier in his life than my introduction to politics at 27 or so.

Late last week, I also sat down with another young Democrat to talk about political things.  I had lunch with Patrick Lockhart, a sophomore at Indiana University.  I won't go into too much about what the conversation was over, but I was appreciative that he sought me out and wanted to talk about politics.

Patrick, my friend Paul Fox, and I all talked about a wide variety of issues in politics.  Some of it was how the various generations represented at our table respond to politics and social media.  Other parts of our conversation hinged around where politics is going, and how is it going to get there.

The moral of this story is that we do have good, hard-working young people in our society who care about the future of our country.  I'm hoping that young folks like Jack and Patrick are both going to "stay in the game" because our future will be better if both of them do.  It's on all three or four sides of the aisle, too.  No matter what the party, we should be fostering young people's interest in our American political system because they need to know all the positives and negatives of the process.  They need to know early how the sausage is made so that we are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of previous generations.

If you know someone that wants to get involved in the Indiana High School Democrats, you can find the organization's website at www.inhsdems.org.  The Indiana Young Democrats are on Facebook at www.facebook.com/indianayoungdems.

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