I’m right and I won’t apologize ... but you should
Published: Monday, September 8, 2008
Updated: Monday, September 8, 2008 11:09
There was once a time I did not want to bring up my, ahem, affiliations.
Dare I say it? Throw the word out there for school-wide consumption? Allow every person on campus to judge me for it? I used to try to refrain from mentioning it because it has on occasion led to verbal slings and some rather serious threats, but like any empowered Tufts student, I've come to that place where I can no longer keep it to myself:
I am a Republican.
There, I said it. I'm Republican, and no, I'm not going to apologize for it.
You're probably going to wonder why, which is an entire article in and of itself, but instead I'd like to point out that there is blatant hypocrisy right here on campus, especially as it concerns politics and the student body. Tolerant? Diverse? Respectful? Hardly. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to call the Bias Education and Awareness Team on all the people who've called me a bad name, but I merely wish to question why such a progressive school is closing its ears and minds all too quickly.
While Tufts is brilliant at encouraging dialogue, the question of politics and ideology is horribly warped, or at times silenced. I grow frustrated that for every time I am asked how I vote, someone has to jump in and tell me I have blood on my hands for the war in Iraq, or that Bush is an idiot, or that we are a bunch of Bible-throwing, mullet-growing rednecks from the South who love our guns.
I don't own a gun but I support a citizen's right to keep one, just as I support civil liberties and individual rights. I believe we have an obligation as a privileged and powerful country to foster democracies abroad, to maintain peace and to fight injustices.
I've met President Bush, studied his policies, and while I agree there has been a tragic placement of undeserving or unqualified persons as higher-level officials, it is an issue of an entire administration and not one of a single person. Liberals, the Democratic Party and the majority of persons I have met abroad in the past eight years seem to lay blame on President Bush for a plethora of issues, most of which were not directly triggered by an administrative policy or individual action of the president.
Instead of blaming just one person for the state of our nation, I have a nobler idea: Let's blame ourselves. In the world outside this political jungle, it's called accountability, and it's something each and every one of us needs to cultivate in order to turn this thing around. We can fix the housing crisis, save the environment and reduce our independence on foreign oil and other energy sources. We can find a way to resolve the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, create affordable health care, reform immigration and revitalize industry, too.
These issues are not left or right — they are American. They are something we should be working towards instead of pointing fingers at someone who's going to be leaving office within the year.
Which brings me to another important topic: the presidential election.
I will concede that there have been provocations on both sides and incorrect statements from each corner of the ring as well, but here is where Tufts mirrors the national arena: There is blatant hypocrisy from the Democratic Party, particularly in evaluating the candidates and their credentials. John McCain is too old, too "out of touch," as the Democratic messiah claims. Sarah Palin? Well, she's got a pregnant daughter who isn't married (yet) and a child with some serious disabilities. Plus, she's inexperienced! What is she doing running?!
Perhaps if McCain is too old, as you may claim, was Hillary too "female" or could Obama be too "black"? If the Democratic Party is going to throw its hands in the air and accuse Republicans of racism and sexism, I'm going to point out the ageism that has been used against McCain, not to mention the bizarre role the Dems have taken in arguing that a woman cannot take a leadership position if she has challenges in her personal life. It disgusts me that a party so bent on protecting women's rights and the family could tell a woman she should stay at home making sandwiches for the kids.
As far as the question of experience goes, Palin is an individual with integrity, spirit and major accomplishments in her short time as governor. Her youth can only add to the dimension of the ticket rather than damage it, and if you really want to talk about a lack of experience, let's discuss Obama's appalling lack of attendance during votes and his stunning accomplishment void in his time as a senator.
I don't want to plunge into candidate comparisons, however. I just want to make this last point clear: I am not offended that people have different beliefs or positions than my own. In fact, I welcome it and encourage it, because it's what I believe makes us a diverse campus as well as a diverse nation. What crushes the soul in a time of such an important election is that we are paying more attention to the superficial, to the appearances and the sound clips and meaningless, insignificant fodder thrown in our face every day. Bush, bad. Republicans, evil.
Being a Democrat is trendy. Being liberal shows your open-mindedness and intellectualism. Voting for Obama means you have transcended every strata of society to become maybe, just maybe, the coolest person ever. He even has these posters that look a little like Soviet propaganda, good enough for every Tufts hipster to proudly display in his dorm window.
Now, of course I know there are people who support him because they advocate for his policies, but there is also an overwhelming group who likes him for his symbolism, the very image of him, or the supposed change we're going to see if he makes it to the White House. Is anyone else scared that all this talk sounds a little too messianic? And if I hear it one more time, I will boycott Change, even if it means ordering the same sandwich at the Commons the rest of the semester.