CNN exit poll*
Vote by Age Yes No
18-29 39 61
30-44 55 45
45-64 54 46
65+ 61 39
Proposition 8, for those of you who might not know, was a proposed constitutional amendment that would make gay marriage illegal in California. It passed, being the one nasty small-minded smudge on what was otherwise a proud day for America.
But have a look at those numbers. The only group who voted No - voted against discrimination - was the young people.
Have a look at this map, sent to me by the wondrous Snazzy.
It's often easy to cry that the world is going to hell-in-the-proverbial, but sometimes it helps to take a step back. Yes, there is still sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance, religious fanaticism, poverty, discrimination, global warming and racism in the world. But we're getting better. Overall, long-term, things are getting better. And from what I see in the world, and what the data above suggests, is that, over time, we are becoming more open-minded, more unprejudiced, more understanding**.
Here, also from Snazzy, is a letter written by an eight-year-old Filipino-American girl to Barack Obama with some advice about a dog, and a request that he make a law that requires everyone to recycle, and also ban unnecessary wars***.
In Obama's response, he writes, "I want you to look up the word 'empathy' in the dictionary. I believe we don't have enough empathy in our world today, and it is up to your generation to change that... I hope you will always be an active participant in the world around you, and that you will seize every opportunity to make the world better. Seeing young people like you who care about making things better inspires me and gives me great hope about the future of our country."
In today's New York Times Op-Ed, Al Gore proposes to make all of the US's electricity renewable within 10 years. The article is passionate and practical, and I highly recommend you read it (especially you, Mr Rudd). But here is the bit that made me cry:
Looking ahead, I have great hope that we will have the courage to embrace the changes necessary to save our economy, our planet and ultimately ourselves.
In an earlier transformative era in American history, President John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to land a man on the moon within 10 years. Eight years and two months later, Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface. The average age of the systems engineers cheering on Apollo 11 from the Houston control room that day was 26, which means that their average age when President Kennedy announced the challenge was 18.
This year similarly saw the rise of young Americans, whose enthusiasm electrified Barack Obama’s campaign. There is little doubt that this same group of energized youth will play an essential role in this project to secure our national future, once again turning seemingly impossible goals into inspiring success.
People often ask me why I write for teenagers. This is why.
*Nicked from this post by Justine.
**I was going to say "more tolerant", but I've made a personal pledge to stop using that word. The dictionary tells me that "tolarate" means "to accept or endure something unpleasant or disliked with forbearance". It's a horrible thing to say (I'm looking at YOU, Palin).
***She is an Obama fan despite the fact that her parents are named John and Cindy. For serious.