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It’s Okay to Speak Out

I don’t know about you, but I am scared to talk about politics. I don’t really know why. I think it comes down to a fear of sounding ignorant. That or a childhood of repression, as I was a liberal kid growing up in Orange County. One of the two. That being said I know I’m not alone. The most common response when people are asked about politics seems to be, “Oh, I don’t know. I kind of stay out of politics,” and then some wishy-washy response about their thoughts on our president. 

Image source: Josh Johnson

Being afraid of politics isn’t getting us anywhere. It’s true. Nobody wants to be that person that likes to talk extensively about their political views at parties. Nobody likes that guy. But also we should get more comfortable with having an opinion. Currently, a majority of our peers aren’t voting and aren’t getting involved in politics, and it’s hurting us. Yet most of us are angry about the current political situation. We want change, but when we are asked to go vote and make a change, we hesitate.

In recent times, various celebrities have started to speak up about the topic of voting. This seems strange as our society sees talking politics openly as a taboo of sorts. For example, we have people with huge platforms such as Rihanna and Taylor Swift urging people to vote. It’s empowering for them as well as for us. They aren’t being aggressive or forcing their views onto people, but they are helping the younger generations get the conversation going.

On a more official note, recently President Obama voiced his opinions and his alarm for the current political situation. In September, he came to a rally down in Orange County. My mother and some of her friends are part of the organization that hosted the event, but I wasn’t able to go myself. But watching the speech later I was suddenly hit with a deep sense of comfort. It was the feeling of “Oh, our dad is back. He’s going to take care of us.” (Calling Obama ‘dad’ is weird I know, but I mean it in a political-guardian sense.) For the first time in a couple of years I felt a sense that someone I trusted was watching out for us. Him speaking out, despite whatever social expectations are in place, was inspiring. For the most part when a new president steps in, the one leaving is supposed to gracefully bow out and allow for a smooth transition of power. So this blatant breach of political and social expectations was comforting because someone needed to do it.

Image source: Louis Smith

We should strive to be a little less afraid, a little more involved, and a little more opinionated if we want said opinions to be taken into consideration. I feel comfort when I hear people I look up to being openly political, and taking it into their own hands. We should all strive to do the same.

Hi! I'm Katie Weaver, I'm a third year International Relations Major. My free time is taken up by art, film, and seeing friends. I'm also a coxswain on the Men's rowing team, which keeps me busy.
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