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FEATURE

A More Peaceful and Prosperous World

Essay by the 2008 Republican Party Presidential Nominee
Illustration by Joseph Adolphe

Throughout this election we've been fortunate to witness the inspiring involvement of so many young Americans, many of whom are not even old enough to vote. Families are bringing their children to campaign events; teenagers are canvassing neighborhoods; and college students are organizing student groups. With so much at stake in this election, I am proud to witness the involvement of this new generation of Americans. They understand their participation is not limited to the ballot box: they are volunteering their time and effort to improve the well-being of our country.

Blogs, MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube have changed the way young people participate in the political process. I have made it a priority to reach young people by participating in such venues as the MTV/MySpace Presidential Dialogue, hosting a blog on my website, and reaching out through social networking sites.

Reaching young people isn't simply about the logistics of how you communicate; it is about what you communicate. Young people are not fixated on a single issue. They want leaders who will address the many critical issues directly affecting their lives, the lives of their families, and the people in their communities.

At town hall meetings across the country, I am repeatedly inspired by the commitment of the young women and men who crowd in to have their voices heard — veterans home from Iraq, relating what they saw, telling us to let them win; volunteers with the ONE Campaign talking about their efforts to alleviate global poverty; recent college graduates wondering what I will do to make health care affordable; and the countless young people who ask how I plan to combat the problem of climate change.

After 9/11, leaders in Washington missed an opportunity to call young people to service. Young men and women, who are willing to give of themselves and sacrifice, want a leader who will ask something of them. Young people want — and deserve — to have their opinions respected and their concerns taken seriously. I know this and will continue to call on young people to serve causes greater than their own self-interest.

Young people understand the power that the political process wields as a force for change, and they are actively engaged in harnessing that power to bring about change for their families, their communities and their world. I see, in the efforts and enthusiasm of America's youth, that our nation's best days are ahead of us. I hear the message of young people loud and clear, and as President, I will honor the obligation of today's leaders to leave the next generation a more peaceful and prosperous world than the one we have today.