Former Ambassador Andrew Young, speaking Nov. 1, 2012, to students at Albany State University, stressed the importance of voting and shared his political views and life experiences.
ALBANY -- Former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young reminded Albany State University students of the importance of voting in Tuesday's election and liberally doled out other advice on a variety of subjects.
"Every vote counts, every vote can determine your future," the two-time mayor of Atlanta and former congressman, said. "Every time you vote you should remember who suffered and died for your right to do so. Also remember when you vote you are selecting the person who is in the room representing you when the money is divided up.
"You aren't voting for the man, you aren't voting for a party. You are voting for the issues."
Young then touched on the Great Depression, World War II and the Iraqi War.
"World War II brought us out of the Great Depression because after we won we immediately went to work rebuilding our former enemies," Young said. "Because we had to rebuild Europe we had to also build more trucks, and produce more cement and build more steel manufacturing.
"We rebuilt our economy by rebuilding Europe."
Young added that the nation's economy is still recovering from a three-year recession despite spending trillions during the war in Iraq.
What happened after World War II didn't happen after Iraq and that's part of the problem now," he said. "Halliburton moved from Houston to Dubai so it wouldn't have to answer hard questions from Congress. The money was never reinvested in America. There's at least $21 trillion sitting in offshore accounts and tax havens all over the world.
"So we have to regenerate a new economy, but that's too complicated to talk about during a presidential campaign."
Young then recalled his days in the civil rights movement which used economic power rather than violence to gain the vote for black people.
"Violence was really not an option for us," Young said. "We found people in power with economic stakes in a community and worked with them. If you can do that you can find a non-violent solution to any problem,
"We really couldn't have done it any other way. All we wanted to do was get the right to vote."
Young, who was a key strategist and negotiator during the movement and later as a diplomat, said finding common ground is crucial.
"Don't get mad, get smart," Young said. "Help one another out and understand your differences. Find common ground; what are our common interests?"
The 80-year-old ambassador said he tries to see all sides during disagreements.
"I get along with just about everybody, even the hip-hop generation," he said. "We get along except for one thing -- jail house booty culture saggy pants. That ain't hip and that ain't cool."