Dear Senator Rockefeller and Mr. Gingrich,
As representatives of organizations representing the interests of young people we respectfully request that you apologize for your recent negative statements regarding young Americans.
Senator Rockefeller: “It’s my general feeling that people who are 20, 21, 22 years old really don’t have any social values,”
Mr. Gingrich: “it wouldn’t be bad to have a test like [the one immigrants have to take on American history] for young Americans before they start voting.”
Young Americans are defending this country and our values (and your job) around the world – including in Iraq and Afghanistan where, according to you, the average soldier has no social values. They are serving in the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, with Youth Service America, Teach For America, and as firefighters, police officers, and paramedics. Are you really saying that these people have no values? Are you really saying that their commitment needs to be tested before we allow them the vote?
America’s young people are serving their communities at record rates, and more than any generation in history. They are aiding the homeless, defending the environment, advocating for social justice and are deeply concerned about global issues. They are responsible, thoughtful, and civically engaged; and every day they make decisions guided by their, very considerable, social values.
We hope that your recent comments about young Americans represent merely a lapse in judgment and look forward to reading your apology.
Thank you for your time,
The National Youth Rights Association
Youth Service America
United States Student Association
Students for Sensible Drug Policy
The Freechild Project
The United States Youth Chamber of Commerce
Youth Activism Project
CC: Republican National Committee
Democratic National Committee
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Republican Congressional Campaign Committee
Young Democrats of America
Young Republicans National Federation
Vice President Joseph R. Biden
Senator Harry Reid
Senator Richard Durbin
Senator Daniel K. Inouye
Senator Mitch McConnell
Senator John Kyl
Senator Tom Harkin