I still don't understand politics. I nod and smile at the mention of a certain "bill," as some of my friends fall into heated debate. It feels good to finally admit that I often have no idea what they are talking about. "Party" is still a word I use to describe friends coming together to have a good time. To me, a party is not something that can cause arguments, or drive friends apart -- it only brings friends together. When I entered college, I found that I did not have to change my definition of the word. "Democrat" or "Republican" suddenly meant very little as a common party of the "youth" had come together.
I remember my first political protest. It was during my first semester and after the first tuition fee spike. The fact that I had such an early education in protesting may be because I went to school in Berkeley. I think it is safe to say that political revolution is in the air on this campus. There is something about being in a city that is on the map for its role during the free speech movement that forces you into the political world. I did not want to be at this protest, it just happened. All our professors cancelled class so that we could have the freedom to choose whether or not we wanted to participate in the demonstration. I was not planning on being a part of the chaos, but since I did not have class, I went to check it out.
It is a life-changing experience to see hundreds of students of all ethic backgrounds and political parties, chanting the same lines. "Whose University? Our University!" was the chant that spread through the entire campus. There was such an amazing energy. A chill passed through me as I became "one of the crowd." I was offered a red bandana to show my support for the cause. I tied it around my wrist and from that moment on I was one of them -- one of the politically minded.
I still don't pay attention to party controversy. I will hopefully one day understand the ins-and-outs of health care and taxation, but at the moment I will admit, I am clueless. What I do know are those issues that are important not to one party or another, but to the party-less American youth. Even if you have not yet developed a political voice, you may soon find that you are "political." Before long you may be taking out countless student loans, you may be making a decision to go to college based not on your academic record but instead based on money. Maybe you already have faced these challenges and began to think, "Why should I have to make this sacrifice?" Beware! You are being transformed into one of those "political people."
Education is an issue that does not separate us into distinct groups, but instead brings the youth together and creates a common political voice. A degree has become essential for landing a job. However, as the job hunt gets harder, so does the ability to go to college. Again, I know nothing about politics, but I know a lot about being a student. This is one issue that the youth can understand better than anyone else, because it is our future at stake. So I say to all those young college hopefuls out there, "Whose University?"