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Prime Time: Older generation can affect election outcomes

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The game is on. For those of us who have not swung a baseball bat or dribbled a basketball or snared a puck with a hockey stick for years and years, here's good news: We will determine the winner of this game

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I'm talking about the election of 2012. The outcome of this game is on our shoulders because people over 60 are more likely to vote than any other age group. For the next 19 months we'll hear a lot about first-time voters, Independents and the "base" of each party. A giant industry of poll-takers will analyze us all six ways from Sunday. But when it comes down to the second Tuesday of November in 2012, we will be there.

Now, you may well be concentrating on your garden and your summer visitors and your grandkids, and that is all well and good. But the more I listen to the news, the more I become convinced that we likely voters need to know what we're doing. The future of our children and grandchildren depends on it.

And if you just don't want to pay attention to the game for the next 19 months, I'll tell you what will happen and you can tune in later.

-- President Obama will rise and fall in popularity.

-- The Dems know that he's their guy, but nonetheless, somebody from that party will announce he/she would make a better president. This will happen when Obama sags seriously in those polls.

-- The Republicans will continue to have a boatload of candidates: senators, representatives, governors, wealthy businessmen and women and military heroes will, seriously or not, flirt with the idea of running.

-- Exploratory committees will be formed. Fundraisers will be held. Candidates will fly in and out of Iowa and New Hampshire, testing the waters.

-- Leaders in both parties - the President and all the rest - will repeatedly declare what The American People want, and that they intend to give it to us.

Now, being one of the American People this baffles me. We are all - young and old, rich and poor, brilliant and stupid, ambitious and sluggardly - thrown into the same stew. Remember that when you next hear an elected official declare wisdom about what The American People want.

I'm not sure why anybody wants the presidency, or any other elected office. Politics in this country have become more vicious than any time in my memory. But bad stuff has indeed happened throughout history. United States Sen. Charles Sumner was beaten senseless by a member of the House of Representatives in May 1856. And it happened right there in the Senate.

Crazed men took aim and assassinated presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy. This country's history is not without dark hours.

But we, who may well determine the outcome of the next election, have a responsibility right now. Our first responsibility is not to stir the fires of rancor. Let us not forward vicious emails or cheer at whatever nonsense leaders of our chosen parties declare. We can disagree. But let's do so civilly. We the little people will have our say at the polls in November 2012. We're not the ones with big bucks who buy elections. We are simply the folks who will determine the outcome of the next election at every level. We're living in a country that is changing by the day. And we have a responsibility, as the Older Ones, to make sure those changes are good ones.

Let's pay attention. Starting now. The game is on.

The game is on. For those of us who have not swung a baseball bat or dribbled a basketball or snared a puck with a hockey stick for years and years, here's good news: We will determine the winner of this game

I'm talking about the election of 2012. The outcome of this game is on our shoulders because people over 60 are more likely to vote than any other age group. For the next 19 months we'll hear a lot about first-time voters, Independents and the "base" of each party. A giant industry of poll-takers will analyze us all six ways from Sunday. But when it comes down to the second Tuesday of November in 2012, we will be there.

Now, you may well be concentrating on your garden and your summer visitors and your grandkids, and that is all well and good. But the more I listen to the news, the more I become convinced that we likely voters need to know what we're doing. The future of our children and grandchildren depends on it.

And if you just don't want to pay attention to the game for the next 19 months, I'll tell you what will happen and you can tune in later.

- President Obama will rise and fall in popularity.

- The Dems know that he's their guy, but nonetheless, somebody from that party will announce he/she would make a better president. This will happen when Obama sags seriously in those polls.

- The Republicans will continue to have a boatload of candidates: senators, representatives, governors, wealthy businessmen and women and military heroes will, seriously or not, flirt with the idea of running.

- Exploratory committees will be formed. Fundraisers will be held. Candidates will fly in and out of Iowa and New Hampshire, testing the waters.

- Leaders in both parties - the President and all the rest - will repeatedly declare what The American People want, and that they intend to give it to us.

Now, being one of the American People this baffles me. We are all - young and old, rich and poor, brilliant and stupid, ambitious and sluggardly - thrown into the same stew. Remember that when you next hear an elected official declare wisdom about what The American People want.

I'm not sure why anybody wants the presidency, or any other elected office. Politics in this country have become more vicious than any time in my memory. But bad stuff has indeed happened throughout history. United States Sen. Charles Sumner was beaten senseless by a member of the House of Representatives in May 1856. And it happened right there in the Senate.

Crazed men took aim and assassinated presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy. This country's history is not without dark hours.

But we, who may well determine the outcome of the next election, have a responsibility right now. Our first responsibility is not to stir the fires of rancor. Let us not forward vicious emails or cheer at whatever nonsense leaders of our chosen parties declare. We can disagree. But let's do so civilly. We the little people will have our say at the polls in November 2012. We're not the ones with big bucks who buy elections. We are simply the folks who will determine the outcome of the next election at every level. We're living in a country that is changing by the day. And we have a responsibility, as the Older Ones, to make sure those changes are good ones.

Let's pay attention. Starting now. The game is on.

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