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The power of the pissed-off

Guest column by Kate Moulding

Thursday, September 9, 2004

November 2. Less than two months from today. The one chance for all of us Democrats, and liberals, and progressives, and revolutionaries to vote George W. Bush out of power.

I know it’s a big deal. You know it’s a big deal. But where does a 21-year-old like me who is entirely disgusted with U.S. politics go to have an impact on this monumental election? Where is the place for a young, pissed off, anti-Bush person in this political process?

My place has been hard to find. Politicians are not speaking to people like me in their campaigns because they don’t have to. Out of the 27 million eligible U.S. voters under age 25, only 10 million voted in the 2000 election.

With these numbers, we could have changed the outcome of the presidential election in a snap. In six different states the election was decided by fewer than 10,000 votes. If even 1 percent more of the eligible voters under age 25 had shown up at the polls, it would have been enough. We do have the power; we just have to use it.

The League of Pissed Off Voters ( is activating our power not just by getting young people to show up at the polls but by turning them into the hottest progressive political organizers out there. Nationally, youth from varied backgrounds and subcultures are coming together to take Bush out of office and transform American politics, building a progressive government that will truly represent us and our communities.

Experienced youth and student organizers are teaming up with kids who, until this year, never had any interest in voting or politics but are now ready for action. Around the country, kids are out at the clubs, at punk rock shows, and at hip-hop shows registering voters and turning voting and political organizing into the coolest new trends out there.

This is about beating Bush, but this is also about saying that we are going to make democracy work for all of us. The league’s self-proclaimed goal is to “build a progressive governing majority in our lifetime.” For me, and for a lot of people in the league, that is one piece in realizing the kinds of social, political and economic changes that we want to see, but the league’s mission is an inspiringly attainable reality that we want, need and can create. The power of all the pissed off youth and every other screwed over or pissed off person in this country is enough to demand more from our politicians.

I should say, that it could be enough, but only if we combine our energies, make a plan, get active and convince all of our friends to do it too. The first step at Brown comes this Sunday, when the Providence League of Pissed Off Voters takes it to the streets of New Hampshire to help swing the state in favor of John Kerry. There is lots of other action planned for this fall, and of course there will also be you. Yes, you, we want you. I mean, we don’t just want you – we need you to be out there with us.

You might be asking “Why me?” or “How is all this magic going to happen?” OK, hang with me here and imagine this. In 2000, New Mexico was decided by 366 votes. In Florida, the declared margin of victory was 537. If 30 Floridians had each convinced five of their Gore-voting friends to vote and convinced those same friends to convince three of their Gore-voting friends to vote, we could have had 600 more Gore votes and taken away that supposed margin of victory. This is in our power.

In the long run, we can create progressive youth voting blocks that will have to be listened to and respected. Right now, we can swing this presidential election, this year, in these next two months, but time is running out. So let’s do it. First of all, make sure you are registered to vote (See to register). Then contact the Providence League of Pissed Off Voters to get involved and come with us this Sunday.

Kate Moulding ’05 and the Providence League of Pissed Off Voters can be reached at

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