Too Young To Vote, But Not to Make a Difference

Ricky Roneisi, 9, and Kanani D’Angelo, 11, haven’t been involved in politics for very long and don’t even know much about the process. But their parents’ enthusiasm for Sen. Barack Obama and something about the candidate himself that they’re admittedly too young to articulate, inspired them to get involved and become part of what may be a major milestone in the nation’s history.

These two young volunteers spent the day before Election Day at a Chicago-based campaign field office doing whatever was needed, from emptying trash to making calls to voters, inquiring whether they needed help getting to the polls. Surprisingly, no one questioned his or her youth.

“We’ve been getting kind of a mellow reaction,” says Kanani, who is pretty mellow herself, especially for an 11-year-old. It’s a characteristic she shares with Obama and can perhaps be attributed to the fact that she, too, hails from Hawaii and even attends the same school Obama did during his youth there.

Initially, Kanani says, she was neutral as far as this year’s slate of presidential candidates was concerned, but after learning that Obama was in the running, she decided he’d get her vote. When asked whether the Democrat’s race should matter to voters, they clearly think such a prospect is ridiculous. That sort of thinking is an old person’s hang up, they both agree.

Like many of Obama supporters who will actually have a voice in the election’s outcome, they’re eager to hear the results. Ricky, who will be back home in Milwaukee, says he doesn’t want to know what’s happened until the polls are closed and the votes have been counted. Until then, he says, “I’m probably going to jump in bed, cover my ears and cross my fingers.”

Joyce Jones is reporting from Chicago for BlackEnterprise.com.

ACROSS THE WEB