I Need a Hero

They say young people won't show up. They tell reporters young voters are just "icing on the cake." They remind candidates young people are the "elusive voter" who may come to rallies but can't be relied on to caucus. They even tell young voters to stay home because you are not "from" Iowa.

Some go on to say it's so difficult to get young people to the caucus that I might as well go searching for the Holy Grail instead. I have also been told I am chasing windmills by targeting young voters.

I ignore the naysayers and call young voters my heroes. I need you to do the same.

Young people showed up in 2004. They showed up in 2006. They will show up again on January 3rd, 2008 at caucus sites all over Iowa.

We know that if a candidate targets young people they will turnout. Young people are not any different than any other constituency group. You talk to us, we vote. You ignore us, we ignore you.

When the Young Voter PAC got word that the Iowa caucus date would be moved to when students were on winter break, we knew two things. One, we needed to help get students who may be away on break back to Iowa. Two, this would put a kink in the plans of Democratic candidates who have been targeting young people-those in school and those not in school-and that we couldn't let this stop the momentum in the campaigns of strong and historic young voter outreach.

What we didn't expect was candidates on "our team" telling young people that if they are not "from Iowa" that they should stay home. On some levels we knew why they were doing this, but no matter the political reason we knew it was wrong for Iowa and wrong for our nation to try and disenfranchise students.

We immediately wrote blog posts and press releases. We started a Facebook group to get the candidates to do the right thing by young voters and they did-all the major campaigns issued statements in support of students caucusing in Iowa. We decided we couldn't stop there.

We started a campaign telling young people to come back and caucus and asking those who are not eligible to caucus in Iowa to help support young voters by donating money to the cause.

Donors who support young voters stepped up. We bought a bunch of blog, Google and Facebook ads. We sent over 58,000 text messages and emails to registered Democrats, ages 18-35, in Iowa. We pulled together a corps of youth voting experts and young people caucusing to talk to reporters. We asked volunteers not eligible to caucus to come to Iowa so we can monitor some sites we know a lot of young people will show up at to make sure they don't get turned away at the door.

The requests for gas money and hotel rooms started to trickle in. At first the forms were a bit slow to come in, but as of today we are already up to over 150 young people coming back to caucus. The reasons for coming back to caucus are simply inspiring.

Never in my life have I felt like I have such a strong stake in the political process of America. I am an adamant supporter of my candidate and have never felt this strongly about a politician or candidate in my life. I see this election as being pivotal in American history, marking either the renewal of America in the eyes of the worlds or a continuing backward slide into ambiguity and a world of danger and fear.

Being a student at Grinnell gives me almost a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to caucus in Iowa, and as Iowa usually sets the pace for the rest of the caucuses around the nation, I wouldn't want to miss it.

I want to play a role and have an influence on these elections. Being born in Argentina and recently receiving my U.S. citizenship, I want to take advantage of the opportunities I have been given. I don't want to regret not participating and then feel guilty that my preferred candidate was not elected.

All eyes are on Iowa. Which candidate will pull it out? What will a win mean for the rest of the primary schedule? Who will help pull the winner over the finish line?

I have a different question.

Why not be a hero?

Let's show them what we got. If you are eligible to caucus, come back. Be loud and stand proud at your caucus.

If you are watching this from another state and want to help out, donate today to the Young Voter PAC.

Whether you caucus or donate, know you are representing our generation, one that will change politics-who participates and who wins.