The Nation covers Punkvoter, an effort to get the angry yoof of America into the voting booths this November.

At the very least, Punkvoter and its allies present an alternate mode of political organizing–one that may succeed in reaching nonvoters where the traditional approach fails. But if the Democratic Party does get the young, pissed-off vote, it should be prepared to work much harder for long-term loyalty. Anger at Bush may only get Kerry as far as Election Day. “On the first Tuesday of the month, we may be voting for you,” warns Lazu. “But on the second Tuesday, it’s your ass.”

Stories like this show that there are alternative ways of making your voice heard. Political organising is not all about rallies and speeches, or going door-to-door. Although I’m not one to knock traditional methods that have always worked, in some situations, these traditional methods are not possible. Especially when traditional methods are considered ‘out of bounds’ for your organisation.

fear and loathing in america(If memory serves, Hunter S. Thompson did a remarkable job getting dopeheads to vote when he ran for Sheriff of Pitkin County. I think this was chronicled in Fear and Loathing in America : The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist – I’ve read enough Hunter S. Thompson books to forget what was recorded where.)

It may not always be about supporting a political party or candidate. It may just be about making people aware of the world and its issues outside their houses, cars, and jobs (or schools). It may be about informing people that it’s okay to be passionate about issues, to fight for what they believe in. And it may be to convince people that we don’t have to give up on our ideals, because we can make a difference – even if it’s a tiny one – if we just try hard enough.