Win Or Lose: Youth Weigh in on Obama

Nov. 5, 2012 / By

With election day literally around the corner, New America Media asked our youth reporters to weigh in on tomorrow’s presidential election outcome. They were asked to give responses to the following questions:

Four years ago, Obama became the first non-white president to be elected in U.S. history.
1. What message would an Obama defeat send to young people of color?
2. What message would an Obama victory send to young people of color?

Here are some of their answers:

“For me, an Obama defeat would send a negative message. The majority population of low-income families is made up of people of color and many of us depend on healthcare and MediCal. I feel like our rights would be taken away if there were to be an Obama defeat. Also, the Dream Act was created under Obama. If Romney were to win, many families and immigrants who go to school and work hard won’t be able to gain the citizenship they deserve. Many young people of color have to worked hard to succeed. Half of us weren’t born into a high or middle-income family. An Obama defeat would cause stress and extreme worry for our future.” —Angela Or, 17

“If Obama lost, it would be a wake up call that we as the majority would have to stand for the rights that our forefathers fought so hard to create. We would be silenced and discouraged knowing that the foundation of justice that Obama built would be torn down by Romney’s chaos and we will have little chance of changing the narrative of success.” —Chris Covington, 21

“If Obama is to be victorious, then we people off color will expect change. I think that is the message that will be sent out because he made it possible for immigrants students that came to this country before the age of 16 have a two-year work permit that will allow them to help their families with home expenses. That was a very good change for this country. I think that we can expect more change for the better of this country if Obama wins.” —Jesus Alma, 18

[pullquote]”To many Obama represents the bright hope of the American dream, to others a dark nightmare. I believe if president Obama loses this election it would be a set back on our country and to our economy. The voices once heard would be pushed back into silence. Intimidation of the white race would continue to increase. President Obama’s proposed deferred action may be erased. I believe leadership should include all, not ‘some’.” —Adalhi Montes, 20[/pullquote]

“To me, an Obama victory is also a scary idea. Obama has been deceptive about his policies. Many pieces of life-changing legislation like the PIPA and SOPA acts have made it to Capital Hill during his presidency. If he makes it back into office, I believe the compromises he will make (and be forced to make by Congress and other lobbyists) may render him a figurehead in this country. I also believe more rich white men will use the image of Obama as a way of maintaining the trust of people of color while they imprison us and continue to cut our education. I believe White people in this country are terrified of becoming the minority.” —Patrick Moreno, 24

“Whether Obama loses or wins next week, the message that this sends to young people is that they should not be content with the lack of in-depth analysis of issues and that they should not stop demanding from themselves and elected offices what is needed in their communities and the nation-at large. When did we hear anything about poverty or, say, about global warming during the campaign season from either candidate?  According to the mainstream media, the same one that refuses to raise these and other issues, the race is tight. But when all they support and talk about is the two-party system, this becomes numbing and disillusioning. Young people should not conform to this.” —Diana Cardenas, 22

“I’m voting for Obama because a second presidency would send young people of color a message of hope, again.  I’ll admit that Obama has disappointed me and his progressive base in more than a couple instances; there have been more deportations of undocumented immigrants under Obama than under the Bush administration and his Deferred Action is a far cry from long-term immigration reform.  Yet despite my disappointments, I know that Obama can eventually be moved by the masses.  I am critical of any elected official and I don’t believe that any politician can be idolized or depended on to do the right thing all the time – the best I can hope for is a president who can hold himself accountable to everyday, ordinary people and will listen when we make our voices loud enough.  I believe that the people, even after election season is over, have the power and responsibility to push their elected officials to make the right decisions.  I believe that Obama is closer to making the right decisions for people of color, and without another election season looming over his head I have hope that Obama’s second term can be better devoted to doing the right thing for people of color and all oppressed peoples.” —Justine Calma, 24

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VoiceWaves is a Long Beach youth-led journalism and media-training project. The youth, ages 16-24, are learning to report, write, and create digital journalism content. Their reports will raise awareness of community health issues and activate change.