Walk into any Republican meeting and you see it – folks 50 years and older (like Diane and myself) who are primarily concerned with the future for their children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, many young people (those same kids and grandkids) are too busy, too apathetic or simply don’t see how politics affects them and so they tend not to participate in such events.
I want to challenge young people – even though you may be skiing in Bend or going to college in Ashland, and even if you feel that the issues you hear on the news don’t affect you, they do and they will. I wager that most young people saw Bundy Ranch on the news but didn’t see how a grandfatherly rancher’s fight in Nevada affects them, and so brushed it off.
A few days ago, however, I recorded a podcast in which we discussed the change to the BLM’s mission statement that’s disturbing and chilling. Right on the heels of that recording, I saw in the Bend Bulletin that the BLM is removing more than 500 geocaches from Bend-area wilderness, and then that the National Park Service is restricting personal recording devices. My kids geocache, and hike and fish and bike and love the wonderful playground that Oregon has to offer. But for how long will they be allowed to enjoy so-called public lands?
If you are a young person or have young people in your life – even nieces, nephews and grandkids – it’s up to you to communicate how these changes affect all of us, no matter our age. Young people are looking for work, playing hard on the weekends and typically “too busy” for politics, but they must be warned about what this federal overreach means for their lifestyles. They may not be ranchers or hunters, but they are hikers, bikers, geocachers and campers. They may not have cared when the forest was closed to OHV traffic, but they need to know that’s only the tip of this deadly bureaucratic iceberg.
To the young folks I’ve met on the trail – College Republicans, Campaign for Liberty, Young Americans for Liberty – thank you for helping communicate these concerns as well. You are the future of our Republic, and we are grateful for your passion and energy as we fight this battle.