Lessons from a College Kid
In some personal news– I’m graduating this Saturday! So, in an ode to it being my last time writing to you as a college student, I decided to share some of the most poignant lessons that I have learned before I enter “the grown-up world.”
To make everyone feel a little old today, I was 9 months old on 9/11, I couldn’t drive a car when gay marriage was legalized, and the first Presidential candidate that I was able to cast a vote for was Joe Biden.
Nonetheless, I have spent 22 years in this country, 4 in this state, and have a unique perspective on life as a result. Alas, here are some lessons from a soon to no longer be a college kid.
When someone shows you who they are…
This applies to both people and politics. If someone is repeatedly a bad person, they aren’t worth the time of day.
However, in politics, I often find that we hold onto an idealistic hope that people will change. Recently, in the Nebraska Legislature, Republican State Senator Merve Riepe voted against LB626, which was a 6 week abortion ban. Due to the one vote, Senator Riepe was heralded as some sort of hero, with it being dubbed a “Hot Merv Summer.”
When did we start celebrating people for doing the bare minimum? The Senator has voted for every other discriminatory bill in this legislature, but I’m supposed to believe that because he believes women deserve only 10 weeks of rights instead of 6 he’s the good guy?
We see this on the national level too, with figures such as Mike Pence being celebrated. Ah yes… let’s congratulate the guy who supported electroshock therapy for LGBTQ+ individuals for not ruining American democracy as we know it. It’s one thing to disagree on taxes, but a completely different thing to not believe that some folks deserve human rights.
So while burning bridges is not always the healthiest strategy, whether it be with college friends or with politicians, sometimes, the bridge is not worth saving. Let’s celebrate those who consistently display just morals, stop celebrating the bare minimum, and build a strong, united coalition from the ground up.
The value of putting yourself out there
I got this job because I needed an internship credit for a class. I was never one to volunteer, I was never one to go to protests, and frankly, getting involved was anxiety-inducing. While I have always supported the Democratic cause, the idea of intentionally surrounding myself with a group of people who I knew none of just didn’t sound like my cup of tea.
However, the experience that I gained from a required internship has been nothing but gratifying. I never would have thought that my bare minimum expectations for an internship would turn into me having my own blog! I know most of our readers are not seeking internships (though if you are a kid looking for an internship– please shoot me an email). The same lessons from my experience can be applied to all.
Sometimes the idea of volunteering is scary, like becoming a block captain, or getting involved in your county party. But as someone who has gone through the reservations of getting involved— I can assure you that it is worth it!
There has not been a rally that I have attended or an event that I have gone to that I have not enjoyed. Now, yes, my attendance at these events has included a lot of awkwardly walking around, looking for people who I know to make conversation with. It has involved finding the next youngest kid and finding refuge in our shared bond over feeling out of place.
I assure you, that after every event, rally, trip to the capitol, or election night, I go to bed feeling better about myself and our democracy than the day before. That feeling delivers a gratification beyond belief, and though the first step is scary, I promise that it is a step worth taking.
He is my 2nd least favorite Succession character, ahead of only Shiv, but that’s aside from the point.
The saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is one that I constantly hear. But… to be honest, sometimes having to be patient sucks. I would love to know what I’ll be doing with my life three months from now and I would love it if Democrats won statewide in 2024, but these changes don’t happen overnight.
At this juncture of both my life and politics, laying the groundwork for positive change is what matters, even for those of us like me who hate being patient. I won’t have my dream job tomorrow, nor will Democrats magically make up the majority of voters in this state overnight, but it is critical to focus on the positive change that is occurring in the meantime. By focusing on taking it one step at a time and continuously making positive change, Rome can be built.
Around the Horn
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to announce his bid for Presidency late next week according to sources. The Governor is not only a racist and sexist, but a straight-up weirdo. Described by those around him as simply unlikeable, I have zero faith that the man who has lost to Mickey Mouse in the legal system has any prayer of winning the Oval Office. It goes without saying, however, I will take great pleasure in seeing DeSantis and Trump rip each other apart on the national stage.
In other GOP primary news, Mike Pence of “hang Mike Pence” fame, attempted to appeal to voters by going to Dunkin Donuts in New Hampshire! The former Vice President is practically writing campaign ads by himself, as he said in the tweet that it was his FIRST time ever going to a Dunkin. Pence is doing the hard work of Democratic interns nationwide by showing everyone how out of touch the GOP is. As an Illinois native and Dunkin truther, I consider this crime of the same degree as a Nebraskan having never been to Runza.
In Nebraska news, Republican State Senator Julie Slama compared the protest of LB574 to January 6th. Senator Slama, who recently graduated from UNL’s law school, does not display the critical thinking skills that I learned during my years at the University. Clearly the Senator did not take English151 like myself, where we learned that peaceful protests and insurrections are actually not the same thing!
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All the best,