Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

As a Poly-Sci Major, This I believe (H03)

As  a Poly-Sci Major, This I believe 
Maddi Vowell H03
Installment 1
Recently many things have changed in my life; I came to college, my family moved into a new house and I have a new set of friends. Along with these personal changes came changes on a larger scale for our country. Theres a lot of people wh arent happy with these changes, there are a lot of people who are, and most importantly there are more people still who just don't care. I'll say now that I'm a liberal through and through, grew up in San Francisco, CA, then lived in Oakland, CA for a while before moving to Williamson Co. Through my childhood I've had experiences that have politically polarized me to the left, and I think that it's important that I act on my political views. I think its important for everyone to be involved in the political system in which they live under; as has been said many times, "It's what this country was built on." I hate it when people say that. When the public chooses to vote, it shouldn't be for the country, it should be for what they believe in.

As a result of this election cycle, I have seen many heartbreaking responses, just as I have seen many hopeful ones... But the type of reaction I have seen the MOST is apathetic, people who just don't care; and I wonder why that is, why so many people ignore the chance to make decisions in their own interests instead of letting those who go out and vote make it for them...

The first time I realized that I would have to fight for my own interests was in middle school. Two weeks out for the year for 3 years teachers went on strike so that they would make more than McDonald's employees. My school was poor, it was in an underprivileged area, dress codes were strictly enforced for fear of gang violence on school grounds. I was the only white kid in the school, my southern relatives were worried; my parents and I did not worry, it had been that way for me since the second grade, having previously attended an elementary school in Chinatown. The teachers were paid so little that they couldn't fill all the classrooms that needed teachers, classrooms were combined and classes were very large; it was so bad that eventually they had to start hiring unlicensed teachers. They had to send letters home to the parents of the classes taught by these teachers to let them know that they hadn't received teaching credentials... Few parents had a problem with this, I remember my friend Yanni telling me, "You get what you pay for," she didn't look mad as she continued "we ain't like Peidmont." (Peidmont is a wealthy area in Oakland). It was then that I realized that if we didn't talk, no one was going to do anything to help us.

That is perhaps why I feel so strongly about being involved in the political system, I realized that I had to be my own voice early on and some people haven't realized it yet. It might not be relevant to all the reasons why people aren't active in the political system, but I have found that people not caring is one of the more prevalent reasons, the point of my personal anecdote, was to explain the origins of my own reasons to care. My only reaction to the results of the election is this:

"These past few weeks have been interesting to say the least. I'm worried about so many things with the Trump/Pence office looming, and I know it's probably not the end of the world, but the fact that I can't say it isn't for sure worries me. The fact that they have Republican Majority Senate worries me. The fact that they have a republican majority House worries me. And the fact that they will soon have a Conservative judicial branch worries me. It worries me knowing that my friends who just legally gained the right to marry might loose that right so soon, simply because there is no one to oppose the repeal of the decision. It worries me that my immigrant friends who are here LEGALLY have to worry that they won't be welcome in their HOME anymore. It worries me that young boys and girls will grow up and see Donald Trump as a role model for how they should act in the future. It worries me the lack of respect that Donald Trump seems to have for the soldiers who serve to protect us (though I am an ardent supporter of peace over war, I highly respect those who give their lives for their country and what they believe is right). It worries me the lack of knowledge DT has going into his term, he knows how to run companies but this country is so much more than a company. It worries me that they won at all, their campaign was based off so much hatred and anger... Im worried that this term will allow this to fester within the US. I'm worried for the state of international affairs, when after Brexit, the citizens of Great Britain still have the ability to look at the US and say "well, at least we aren't them, they're screwed." It worries me that I have friends who are American citizens, that worry about what might happen to them under this President who was openly endorsed by the KKK. His presidency doesn't anger me so much anymore as it does scare and worry me. Because people that I care about and love are worried for their civil rights, their homes, even their lives. I have never been so ashamed as to say that a president was not my own. I'm not always a loud and proud American, but never before have I been so ashamed of my country. Every day we take one step forward and three steps back, while the rest of the world evolves around us, we sit, we wait, we say "Make America Great Again", but my question is, when before was America great? We flourished economically in the 1950's, that's true but minorities still had no rights, were we great then? What about in the 1960's, when this country was upturned by the civil rights movement, a nation fighting within itself once again just to give other humans basic rights under the law, were we great then? Or the 1970's, with the Watergate scandal, the end of the Vietnam war as a result of said scandal, with the tragedy of Kent state in the background, were we great then? I guess what I'm getting at, is that I want to know exactly what a great America looks like, because looking back, I find no time in American history that I can really believe we were greater than we are now, coming together as one people; I'm worried that this term will rip our progress to shreds, and effectively put this nation back decades. "

That is just my personal view though... As I said, everyone has a political view and everyone has a right to feel the way that they do; mine is superior to no other. I think it is good for each person to have their own political worries and beliefs. Liberals and conservatives should Everyone should fight for themselves, and those that are strong enough should fight for others as well as themselves, this I believe.


  1. "it shouldn't be for the country, it should be for what they believe in." - I think I know what you mean, but shouldn't these coincide? Shouldn't people be voting, from conviction, for leaders who will help build a country that respects individuals in their diversity and provides adequate resources and opportunities (including education) and justice for all?

    I understand and share many of your worries about the reverse direction our country appears headed in, but it's important to remember that more than half the electorate did NOT vote for that kind of change. We need to channel our worries into constructive reform, starting perhaps with an electoral system that actually reflects the will of the majority (without, of course, penalizing or demonizing the rest). That's how we'll finally "achieve our country" (in Richard Rorty's phrase), that's how America can finally realize its true greatness.


  2. I agree with so much of this; interesting since I consider myself to be on the more conservative end of the political spectrum. for the record, Mr. Trump does not embody traditional conservative values. He has already voiced his intent to utilize executive power to bypass congress on lawmaking, which no genuine conservative would do.

    Is the rest of the world really evolving around us? I don't see it that way. Speaking from personal travel experience, I can tell you that other countries, European countries to be specific, may look dandy compared to this mess, but after you get past the propaganda they push onto visitors, you find an equally, if not greater mess.

    What you say at the end concerning how people of differing political opinions being more or less equally valid is great. There are decent individuals on both sides, who share a common and worthy goal. The next great step to be made in American politics is for ordinary Americans of both parties to acknowledge those on the other side as well meaning, just as themselves. We share a goal, but for now, we disagree on the best method for its achievement. Someday, I hope we join forces, and make America great for the first time.

  3. As a poli-sci minor, I relate to a majority of what you have written. This election cycle has been the most surprising of recent history. I fear for the future under the new administration, but I think the best use of my time is to HOPE. Hope is the only thing that can counteract all the fear. It is the only thing that will inspire good deeds and laws that will continue the values that makes America great.

    And on that note, I can not tell you of a time that America was truly great. America at its origin was never meant for everyone- it was designed for white, property-owning men. America has been a nation where ideas and progress is allowed and encouraged to be made, which I think is pretty great. Through the years, America has progressed to be a country that is more inclusive to all people regardless of color, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, and gender; however, there is still much progress to be made. So, we should be focused on making America "great" by looking into the future, not some idealized version of the past. (H3)