As the Idaho Young Democrats we are always excited to see young people getting involved in their communities and engaging themselves politically even if they aren’t of voting age. This month we have one such individual, a young man who started showing interest in politics at the ripe old age of twelve.
Ismael Fernandez is a 16 year old proud Democrat in this great state. As our young Democrat of the month he had some very interesting and insightful things to say in this interview:
How old are you?
I am 16 years old.
What made you want to get involved in politics? What was your first political experience like?
I initially got involved in politics about 4 years ago (I was about 12) when an animal cruelty bill came before the Idaho House of Representatives. I felt strongly, and still do, about abuse towards any animal. I knew it was wrong, and I couldn’t see why my legislators were having such a hard time figuring out how to vote on this. That first political experience did not go over too well.
Who is/was your greatest political inspiration? Why?
I really can’t give you one person. Both Governor Ann Richards and Congressman Henry Gonzalez (Democrats from Texas) are my greatest political inspiration. They were firm in the liberal values and principles they believed in. They had many enemies, but Governor Richards and Congressman Gonzalez almost always came out victorious.
How would you like to see young people get involved with politics?
For me it’s simple: I want to see young people vote. So many in my generation take their right to vote for granted. I would also like to see young people rally for causes they believe in. While I do believe the Democratic Party is the party of the people, I would just like to see young people look into the facts and issues, and join a party based on what THEY believe, not on what their parents believe.
What words of wisdom would you give these young people?
We are the future. I know, you hear that over and over again, but it’s true! We must get involved now. Decisions that are being made do affect us. Sure, you may believe that they don’t affect you now, but that’s just it. These issues may not affect you now, but I can guarantee you that they will affect you in the future!
As the popularity and power of the internet grows, more and more people can get involved from the comfort of their homes. What potential does this convenience have? Pros? Cons?
There is so much potential in the interweb! The positive side to this simply is the fact that we can get so much information from our phones, computers, and ipods. Unfortunately, the truth seems to be irrelevant in the internet. So many websites (Fox News) can parade “facts” as truth, and because of the nature of so many people, many in society will accept those “facts” without looking further into the story.
What are your main issues of concern in regards to the state or federal government?
Well my issues of concern on a state level are as follows: Bullying Prevention, Animal Cruelty, GOOD Education Reform, Prison and Justice Reform, Mental Health Services, and the Repeal of Right to Work. On a federal level, my issues of concern are: Common Sense Gun Control (including an assault weapons ban, universal background checks, etc.), LGBT Rights, Marriage Equality, Reproductive Rights, Foreign Policy towards Latin America and Europe, and Common Sense, GOOD Immigration Reform.
As a young person who is actively participating in the political scene, do you ever try to get your peers involved?
Absolutely! One method I use is simply talking to them about what is going on in the world of politics. That in itself can be effective. We live in a world where talking about politics is “not appropriate for kids my age” and that it’s “impolite” to talk about, which is simply not the case. I also invite them to whatever rallies, marches, and events I am invited to.
This newsletter reaches many active and inactive Democrats across Idaho. As such, is there anything you would like to say or share with these folks?
If you are an active Democrat: Good job. Continue being active. If you are an inactive Democrat: get active! The only way we can turn Idaho blue is by being loud and proud!