February 25, 2015

During his town hall meeting with Jose Diaz-Balart tonight on MSNBC, President Obama took a moment out from answering questions to ask one of his own in response to the frustration he was hearing in the questions asked.

The town hall was an opportunity for people in the Latino community to ask hard questions about immigration and immigration reform, and President Obama met the challenge head-on. In addition to a few pointed barbs at John Boehner and House Republicans, he took on Jeb Bush, too.

But the ones who bore the weight of his aggravation were the 2014 stay-home voters, especially young voters.

The President reminded everyone of the numbers. "In the last election -- and I want to speak particularly to young people -- a little over one-third of eligible voters voted. One-third!"

"Two-thirds of the people who had the right to vote because of the struggles of previous generations, had the right to vote, stayed home. I'm willing to bet that there are young people who have family members who are at risk in the existing immigration system who still didn't vote," he continued.

"So my question to everybody -- not just the immigrant community, but the country as a whole -- why are you staying at home? Why are you not participating?"

Obama went on to lay out how different things could be if people actually made voting a priority.

"There are war-torn countries...full of poverty, who still voted 60 to 70 percent. If here in the United States of America we voted sixty percent, seventy percent? It would transform our politics. Our Congress would be completely different. We would have already passed comprehensive immigration reform. It would have already been done."

All I have to add to this is one sentence: It's about damn time you said that, Mr. President. He received a standing ovation in this living room.

He went on to remind people that cynicism and disillusionment is no reason to stay home, which got the second standing ovation of the night.

It's really time for the coalition of Democrats, progressives, and those interested in getting stuff done to understand this one principle: If you do not vote, if you stay home, you get the Congress you asked for, which is what we're contending with now.

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