Let's Talk Politics!

Let's Talk Politics!

I would be surprised if I never mentioned this before but just to let you know, I'm not a fan of politics and I know very little about the subject! Of course, I know the identities of the President and the Vice President. I even know who's representing the Republican party in the upcoming elections but that's about the extent of my knowledge (Oh -- and also I'm a Democrat because I support their social stances more often than not). It's really not that I have any particular problem with politics, but between my school work (which during the semester is life-consuming), my social life, and various other activities I'm involved in, I never saw politics as that deserving of my attention. It seems more like a reason for people to argue with each other and I'm not big on conflict myself, especially the unnecesary kind. At any rate, you can imagine my displeasure towards being forced to engage in a meeting with my Representative as part of The Washington Center's Public Policy Dialogues.

 

I wondered to myself "what am I going to do?" "How am I going to keep myself from sounding like an idiot?" I began by using Google to actually find out who represents my district in Congress. I discovered that it is Lynn Westmoreland, and much to my dismay, he is a Republican. I wondered how to find common ground with someone whose views were so different from mine. But I decided to look a few issues and just go with it! When the day finally came, I was extremely nervous. The other student that was supposed to come with me had flown home for a family emergency and the coordinator couldn't make it because of meetings. It was going to be me all by myself! I found the office fairly easily and when Mr. Westmoreland opened his door he greeted me with a big smile, a firm handshake, and a huge heaping of Southern courtesy I'd sorely missed while here in D.C.  We discussed the issues and he gave me some really profound insight and a lot of things to think about! Out of curiosity, I asked him why he got into politics and what made them so important to him. He explained its significance to him and told me that once politics touched my life, I would understand its importance and therefore become much more involved...

 

A Change of Heart?

Although I spent a whole summer in our nation's capital, my interest in politics has neither increased nor decreased. However, I did discover after to talking to Mr. Westmoreland that, as corny as it sounds, whether Democrat or Republican, we're all just trying to create better lives for ourselves based on our own beliefs. Previously, I saw his "traditional values" as less progressive and, though they may not be ones that I agree with, I've been able to realize that we all just want to do what we think is best for our families and country. We just have different ways of going about it!

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