Every fall in Fort Collins, CO the city holds the "New West Fest," a celebration of local music, art, and business. Here we see the "new west" emerge as a crucial factor in the 2008 presidential election. While many rural areas in the east (like my hometown - Boomertown, NY) have experienced a brain-drain for decades, places like Fort Collins, CO are on the receiving end of that flowing gray matter. I am pleased to see that this demographic, the 20 something college educated "New Wester," is being realized as a genuine political tour de-force.
Folks born between 1978-2000 have been dubbed "millennials" and we number around 95 million. Compare this to the roughly 73 million "baby-boomers" that have held sway over American politics since the mid 1960's. Our political weight is finally being felt. Whether our youth or our apathy held us back in 2004, it does not matter, we have now in 2008 united behind certain shared values that have grown up with us, and it is apparent in this election. We are the generation that grew up watching "Captain Planet" on Saturday mornings, and remember movies like Fern Gully and Land Before Time. The ghost of Jim Henson still whispers the moral of the story in our ears at night. We like thinking and planning green.
Millennials have also been called "Generation We" for our unprecedented cooperativity enabled by the internet. The world has grown a nervous system and we are the neurons. Our blog posts, our Facebook pokes, our text messages, our i-reports are the electro-chemical bursts giving life to a new global organism. The financial firestorm is manifestation of the mental breakdown of this organism while it reconciles the differences so exaggerated during the last eight years. The Markos Moulitsas' and the Bill O'Reilly's of the world have stretched the rubber-band of the polis so far to either side that it is crashing back to center and we are having to redefine and reassign value. May the millennials deliver on their promises and bring conscious evolution to the halls of Washington.