By Jesus Perez /
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he advent of smart phones has put political power in the hands of young people in America. And, with the advent of social media, the youth of this state have more control over the electoral decision making process in the US ever than before, Van Jones, CNN political contributor, author and activist, made this declaration on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at the main campus of Seminole States College while speaking on “Protests and Politics in the Age of Twitter.”
The founder of Dream Corps Unlimited and Rebuild the Dreams, two social initiatives that use social media as premiere platforms for social engagement, relayed his thoughts on the political worth of social media in the age of smart phones.
“Politics is now completely different than for any other generations” due to the emergence of smart phones, Jones said. However, the social commentator lamented the insignificant role that the devices have been deployed in many instances since, according to him, people “generally tend to use these things more as toys than tools to make a difference” in society.
Jones illustrated how groups like the Tea Party and the Black Lives Matter have effectively mobilized people to their causes with these new platforms and technology endowed with bipartisan characteristics.
Beyond the efficacy of smart phones as political tools, Jones argued that Florida remains a vital force in determining the outcome of presidential elections in the United States, and he opined that the youth, in general, and students in particular, in Florida, will become “the most powerful young people on the planet” in the near future.
Away from politics, Jones provided insights into his own personal history. Talking about the difficulties faced by his family pre-1964 and their perseverance through said difficulties, he pointed out that the year he was born was very important since 1968 was when both Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated.
During the Q&A session, Jones excoriated the contradictory rise of Donald Trump in the political terrain of the United States while highlighting the inherent danger that Trump embodies while suggesting that Americans should elect a level-headed leader with the capacity to successfully manage the dangers that face the U.S as a result of the growing strength of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
For Jones, Floridians should not forget the importance of their votes in a democratic system, especially since Florida is a swing state.
“I remember the important role that Florida played when it was a few hundred votes in this state that determined the outcome” of the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore
And to the young people in Florida, Jones announced: “I think this may be your most important year of your life. In a time of crisis to have power and not use it is a crime. And to live in a democracy with this much at stake, I don’t care who you vote for, but I really do care that you vote because it sends a signal that a new generation is on the scene and y’all can do more than just tweet.”