Politics, can be intimidating. But it can be worse in university campuses because you know exactly what you’re getting.
So let’s say we’ve got an election coming up for a society in campus, nothing big in general, just showing the crowd the new face of the club, and some of the hopeful candidates are starting to become, apparent. Regardless of who the candidates are, sometimes it seems as if we’ve taken politics in campus a little bit too seriously. And also it seems as though we are having the same players representing a set of ideals. What’s even more cliché is that, the same set of players in campus that back these candidates, and holding back their voices to be heard.
Frankly speaking, I personally think that politics are a no-fly zone with strangers. It’s always unpredictable how a person may act towards your political views, hence it can be a tense or an uncomfortable subject to bring up at times. Don’t get me wrong, I could talk about politics for hours. But then again, it’s only for self-pleasure. Who’s going to listen? The politicians? Definitely not, because that would only happen in a democracy, no?
So to begin with, most universities are pretty left-leaning. And thanks to that, comes the two classic polarizing figures. You've got the stereotypical conservatives, who would die for their beliefs. It’s funny how they'll easily tell you how wrong abortion is while simultaneously lowering taxes and advocating for the death penalty. On the other side, you've got your classical liberals. Imagine that anything you say to these people can and will be used against you. Let's say you're having a conversation with your fellow comrade: "Hello there, Miss. You look lovely this evening." Response: "Ugh, you are such a misogynistic bastard. Don't tell me I look nice, because I know you're just trying to sleep with me. What do you think I am, some skank? I'm a woman, and I have all the same rights as men do and deserve to be treated that way.”
Well, let me use the previous paragraph as an aside to mention that these were some crude stereotypes. I really hope no one takes too much offense to these. But if you do - well, I could really care less, because the end point in my article will hopefully make you think otherwise. If not, okay. But before I get there, let us elucidate some more common political advocates we’d find on campus. Sometimes you’d come across the people who try and play both sides, who would never want to upset anyone at all (this used to be me). They’re constantly like “I’m fiscally conservative, but socially liberal.” Hold up. Are you trying to tell me that you are all for conservative economic policies? Do you hear yourself? I know from empirical evidence that things such as trickle-down economics doesn’t work. To add on, do you even know fiscal economic strategies? If any of us actually know the economic policies in full detail, on both sides, that’d be great.
Having taken the subject of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, and being a person who cautiously tries to dissect economic strategies, it is darn impossible to completely understand the premise of these policies (for me, at least). I would also like to add that economics is not a predictive science, even though the textbook teaches you about prediction. If you tell me you're going to slash welfare funding, one might presume that this would increase poverty. But then again, there are so many factors that affect an economy, that we can't ever be certain about anything. Sure, we enjoy our public goods, such as street lights and restrooms. These things aren’t free and need to be paid for, and while more autonomy and less taxes is a good thing, it isn't virtual for our society to function and sustain the benefits we take for granted.
Are you still with me on this? Okay, thanks. I’ll continue that sometimes you’d find the people who have read five minutes on libertarianism and confidently claiming this to be their ideology. They worship Ron and Rand Paul and make sure to watch every Clint Eastwood movie that has ever existed. They really value their liberty, but then again who doesn't? After that, they run out of things to say, but by that point, we've stopped listening to them anyways.
But I say the worst out of all these people, though, are the clueless yet want to be involved ones. If it’s anything, they are the ones that make the rest of the world think we are a country full of inbreeding, incest-loving excuses for humans (also very harsh and very sarcastic). These will be the first people to argue on one side or the other and used rehearsed quotes they heard their dads say at the dinner table. Most of the time, they'll probably get their facts wrong, and if ever questioned, it’s safe to say they'll resort to some defensive cocoon that is impenetrable with logical thoughts and ideas.
I think this pretty accurately sums up the majority of the make-up of thinkers (or lack thereof) on campus. We get into conversations with people that are either on our side, and we just reaffirm what we "believe" in. Or heaven forbid, we find someone who disagrees with us and wants to argue (ugh). That usually ends up with sour faces in which neither side is listening to what the other has to say, because at the end of it, they only care about their opinions.
I wonder, what has made our society become where our political thoughts are so polarized and pre-determined? We don’t often longer think of politics as picking sides on contemporary and moral issues, but rather we have to find a group that has a set of beliefs that we would most like to associate ourselves with. It makes no sense to me. Since when have we become the society that has moved away from debating with each other thoughtfully and carefully, with respect? Elections nowadays are not about picking the people that you want to represent you, but they have more so become picking the lesser of two evils.
I would personally want a club to head in what I think is the right direction. It’s only natural to want the club to expand care and love to every person in our campus, because I believe that is right. But when it comes to elections and voting, I feel like I'm playing a game that is rigged. Does my vote really count? Some say, "Yes." But I beg to differ. I'm not even expressing myself to the fullest extent. It's simple for me to make these complains. After all, I'm just your average student in a university, and my opinion is as meaningful as it is meaningless. I can't change the way things work and the way people think, but perhaps I can still speak what’s on my mind.
So instead of us squabbling on campuses about what we believe in or what we've been told to believe in, shouldn’t we band together and form some sort of social change? People always say that us youngsters think we have it all figured out. I'll be the first to admit that I sure as heck don't. But what I do know is that - and this may be feeble-minded of me to say - is that not everyone who holds a high and favorable position in a club clearly don't have it all figured out either. Let's work together, negate the differences amongst us, and move towards a society that values each of its members. Is that too much to ask?
By Serena Lynn