Although every single person who voted played a vital and admirable role in this historic campaign, I must say that no other demographic proved to be more inspiring than the youth voters (I group that I am proud to be a part of).
For years, people have been saying that young voters will begin to mobilize to make real change, and they have been wrong in saying so until last night. Young people tried to get McGovern elected in 1968; they didn't even get him past the primary (he won the primary in '72 but times were different). Young people tried to get John Kerry elected in 2004; they tragically failed (but they were close).
This time around was different. We had a candidate that we could not only vote for, but work for. Every young person has friends who are enlisted in the military. Many of us were worried (and still are) that they would lose their lives oversees. Obama promised us (a promise we must make sure he keeps) to end this cruel war, and gained our support and love because of it. Obama registered young people (among other demographics) in record numbers, a strategy that proved to work since 66% of young voters went for Obama.
In government class last year (when I was still in high school), volunteers in Fairfax County registered all high school seniors to vote. In the Virginia primaries, you can vote as a seventeen year old so long that you will be eighteen by election day. Nearly every senior in my high school voted in the Virginia primary (and presumably in the presidential election). Although I am no fan of my Alma Mater (never going back), I am very thankful for what they did in those few months leading up to the primary.
In addition to voter registration, volunteers sent out absentee ballot applications to all college students who were not going to be in town on election day. It was because of these efforts that Obama won Virginia. If you were watching MSNBC last night, you would of noticed that Virginia did not go to Obama until they started to count the votes from Fairfax County (The county that certain people had the nerve to call "not real Virginia"). It was because of the efforts of volunteer orginizations, with youth voters as their foot soldiers, that Obama won Virginia. I'm sure that similar cases can be found all across the country.
GenX and the baby boomers have been worrying to much about my generation. I think we have proved to the rest of America that we will be the most diverse, smart, tolerant, prudent, and unified generation this world has ever seen. We know how an election should be run. We know what we should base our decisions on while choosing a candidate (for the most part). We know the challenges we face and how to approach them. We are going to do just fine.