Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on The Brian Lehrer Show, guest host Isaac-Davy Aronson spoke with Paul Loeb,author of Soul of a Citizen, about his recent Huffington Post article about the Obama generation and their struggle to stay engaged — despite their disappointments.
On MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show Wednesday night, Joe Biden urged Democrats to get engaged in preparation for the midterm elections. "Our progressive base, you should not stay home, you better get energized," Biden pleaded.
But many of the idealistic voters of "Obama's Generation" are broken hearted about what they perceive as the U.S. government's lack of change since Obama was elected...and Paul Loeb thinks they might be so demoralized they'll stay at home.
"The challenge is, if in fact we spend our time morosely just looking at the news, and just saying, oh, this is terrible and we're disappointed here and we're disappointed there, what we do is essentially take ourselves out of the ballgame."
Loeb said it's never just a president who enacts change--it takes people to push the government to make changes. He compared this generation's approach to that of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and suggested that the Obama generation is, well, lazier?
"We've seen people doing a lot of virtual activism--they'll click and send and they'll sign an email petition or a letter to a congressperson, but what they won't do is actually get out, knock on doors, make phone calls, show up at a town meeting, rally in the streets."
There's no doubt that a lot of promises were made by Obama's campaign that he couldn't live up to right away, so it's no surprise that people are disappointed. A quick look back at the decisions of our Founding Fathers is a reminder that our government was purposely structured with checks and balances so that impulsive, quick decisions wouldn't be made. Government works slowly--but that's not satisfying to all the people Obama energized in 2008.
"It made people feel like, 'Well, what did we vote for? Where is this change?' I also think that the hopes people had in Obama were extraordinarily high, perhaps too high. And so people assumed that he would somehow work magic."
Loeb's latest article on the Huffington Post is entitled, "The Election Needs You, Broken Heart and All."
WNYC wants to hear what you think. Is Loeb right about "Obama's Generation?" Are you so disappointed you won't vote in the midterm elections? Leave your comments here on It's A Free Country.