History and the Present: A Political Science Student Interview

Hi Stepp. What caused you to choose Political Science as your major?

As I have gotten older, I have come more and more to appreciate the relationship between my life and the governmental activities presented by our leadership. The decisions that are made concerning the nature of our laws, the way that our tax dollars are spent and the processes concerning electoral practice bear a direct impact on the way that we are living. I have always felt that as Americans, we tend to take for granted that democracy is required exercise in order to remain fit. I feel that by coming into a fuller understanding of the various histories, philosophies and theoretical bases for the way that governments are created and properly implemented, I might find a constructive way to channel my interests into positive change.

What aspects of the discipline do you find most compelling?

Perhaps the aspect of Political Science Research that has always captivated me most is its emphasis on the relationship between history and the present. America likes to regard itself as the world's first constitutional democracy, and in many ways the United States has been a revolutionary force in world history. However, as the study of political theory reveals, the visionary ideologists whose beliefs produced our nation's conception of liberty, individual rights and a strong central, elected government were themselves informed by political theorists of British, Roman and even French descent, as they had engaged in history's multitudinous projects in democracy. As a student of the science considering this ongoing continuum of evolutionary government orientation, I consider the history revealed therein to hold a great deal of insight to the future.

What level of interest or involvement do you hold in the real political realm?

Perhaps the most important level of involvement to which I have dedicated myself is making sure to vote in every election. Living in a suburb of Lansing, Michigan as I had during every summer to present, I found myself always surrounded by a deep public interest in political matters local, statewide and national. As a result, I have not only voted in every election for which I have been eligible, but I have participated in the important summer campaign activities leading up to many of them. On the weeks prior to important local elections, I have canvassed neighborhoods with a "Get Out the Vote" message which reminds voters to get to the polls and cast their support for a candidate of their choice. To this date, I continue to participate in efforts to improve voter turnout and direct the course of our elections.

Is there a particular politician whom you find has a great influence on you and if so, why?

I was always a supporter of President Clinton. Though he took office well before I could vote, I found him to be a captivating speaker, a generally centrist leader whose decisions resonated with broad swathes of the public and a decent example of how to conduct the pursuit of one's policy ideologies in office. Still, the political figure whom I most admire is my father, whose work as a local assemblyman always helped to bring the pertinence of political involvement into our home. An honest and humble official who served with the genuine intention of representing what he felt was best for the public, my father took very seriously the responsibilities of decision-making which are inherent to the office.

What do you hope to accomplish occupationally as it pertains to this course of study?

I have not yet formally determined how I hope to translate my education into a legitimate career. However, I anticipate that I am likely to serve public office, or at least run for public office, in order to do my best to represent public interest from within a position of local leadership. Beyond that, I think that political lobbying for causes which I view as worthy may be a level of involvement which could give me an avenue to making a tangible impact on the way decisions are made and democracy is defended.

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