This last week I interviewed two college aged women, who both classify themselves as liberal. Both are community activists. Both supported Barack Obama at the beginning of his Presidency. I was curious to know what drew them to the President as a candidate. I was not shocked, but I was mildly surprised as to the answer.

One of them explained it this way: “I thought he was so great because he would be the first black president, and I thought he would be able to change how we were seen in the world, and it would make things better.” She went on to explain that she thought that President Obama would sit down with world leaders, and when they saw that we elected someone who had a different attitude toward the role of the USA in foreign affairs, those countries would like us and be willing to listen to us.

Essentially, the youth thought that the old ways were dumb. Now the youth are confused. They both admit that they think the President’s handling of current Middle Eastern matters has been bungled. Both feel confusion as to why we are helping Libya and not Syria (join the club). But some of the liberal message has penetrated. One is upset over the treatment of Israel. The other, who spent time in Israel, feels that we need to fulfill our obligations to Israel, but that Israel is essentially an occupying force. An occupying force that was transplanted by the U.S., when we should have butted out. Well, not exactly. She thinks that we should have accepted the refugees here in the U.S. instead of turning them away after WWII. She may have a point there.

I have wondered what, if any, affect the President’s handling of the Arab Spring would have on his re-election bid. I have also wondered whether the President could pull the youth vote again. It did not occur to me that the two could be tied. Maybe they are. It is hard to make wide-eyed, somewhat innocent and definitely sheltered children understand that evil exists in the world, or even that differences in culture can prevent peace.

It is difficult to teach them that just because they want justice for all, doesn’t mean that all world leaders do. There are distinctly American ideals that color their vision, and they can’t seem to remove the rose colored glasses to see that most policy comes in shades of grey. However, the last two years have had an effect, and I do think that the President has lost a large share of the youth vote. The Republican candidate will most likely not garner that vote, they will probably just be no-shows at the polls. However, if the Republican candidate wins, and if he/she does the job of statesman, the Republican party may see a huge surge in young adult support in the 2016 elections.

One more thing to think about. If the Prime Minister of England suddenly told the U.S.A. to “give back Texas” so we could discuss peace with Mexico and the Mexican drug cartels, how would we react? I think I know how Texas would react, but I am afraid I don’t know how Washington would react. Not knowing, is part of what is losing that all important youth vote for the Democrats.

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