FROM THE EDITOR: My last perspective on politics

July 6, 2010

by Lance Traweek

Of course, my first year of college was marked with change: new friends, a new apartment and a newly discovered independence. I was a Republican with deeply rooted Southern Baptist beliefs, or in other words: another white 18-year-old male with a hangover and a blue “Bulldogs for Bush” T-shirt that matched my Frat-tastic Polo hat. Up until this point in my life, each year yielded yet another yawn. As a freshman journalism major, I rarely thought past the weekend much less outside of the box.

My last quarter of my first year, I took Dr. Richardson’s POLS 201 class: another pre-requisite for journalism, and the catalyst for declaring a double major in political science. By the third test I felt aware, educated and no longer conformed to a party identification that had been passed down to me through an umbilical cord. The more I learned the more opinions I developed, and looking back, the class interrupted my blissful ignorance. My political identification began to grow in a different direction from my family.

The only thing keeping me from joining the Democratic Party is that I am opposed to abortion. But I am not one to give a candidate’s stance on abortion much thought when it comes to national elections, especially the president.

While abortion and local politics are insignificant in the grand scheme of my party identification, I am an independent because I am an issue-based voter.

Before the 2008 presidential election, I looked at the pros and cons of each ticket and based my vote on who I thought would be for the betterment of our country. A specific party affiliation seemed arbitrary, considering my convictions are far too complicated to permit such a narrow view of my voting decision.
As an independent, I take pride in my beliefs, which I hold in high regard. After spending 14 years in the public school system, I garnered a better understanding of those different from myself.

During the 2008 campaign, I noticed my family becoming more interested in politics, especially when one of their own came to the dinner table wearing an Obama T-shirt.

After returning from an internship in D.C. with Congressman Rodney Alexander, I realized the world is bigger than this Southern bubble. I keep my mind open to new cultures, races, concepts and ideals. Working in a Republican’s congressional office on Capitol Hill for two months is likely to make or break any independent. But my time there did little to sway me to one side or the other. During the internship, there were things I liked and disliked about the direction of the Democratic and Republican parties.

This is my 50th and final Tech Talk to be a part of.

Through my political columns the past two years, I tried to center them to evoke thought, considering the average student is subjected to enough opinion journalism masquerading as news. I put my perspective in this small box on Page 4, in hopes others will think outside of theirs too.

Lance Traweek is a senior journalism and political science major from Monroe who serves as editor for The Tech Talk.