Why I Give a F*&% about the RNC and You Should, Too
Originally Published in The Hilltop
I often joke around with the staff that The Hilltop is my boyfriend. I say that we are in a very serious relationship, and I am very committed to him. I may not be his only, but I am certainly his Ride Or Die. So when my editor-in-chief asked me to go around campus and get reactions to the Republican National Convention, of course I obliged my boo-thang.
I took to the Yard, reporters notepad in hand, doing my best not to creep out random strangers in a quest to find out what people had to say. I discovered a disheartening fact: not a lot of students are actually paying attention.
When asked if they watched the RNC, answers ranged from plain, “No,” to “I’ve been really busy with homework,” to “What channel is it airing on?” But one answer stuck out to me the most: “No. Why f*&% would I watch that?”
It’s safe to assume that the majority of the people reading this article are registered Democrats, or at least supporting President Obama. Howard is a Historically Black University after all, and according to The New York Times, 95 percent of African American voters cast their ballot for our first black president in 2008. This statistic isn’t likely to change dramatically in the 2012 race either. And that’s fine. We have the right to vote for whoever we want, for whatever reason we want. Whether its because of his stance on gay marriage, his push for the Affordable Health Care Act, or if it’s because for the first time ever, we find ourselves being able to relate to the leader of the country we have lived in since our ancestors were brought over as slaves.
At the same time, we need to inform ourselves about what and how other people are thinking. We often complain about how partisan our political landscape has become; that rather than actually accomplishing things and passing and signing legislation, our elected officials are acting like children on a playground. But often we are also guilty of the same rhetoric and child’s play that we find so frustrating.
Why are most of us on this campus not fans of Ronald Reagan, the emblem for the mindset and agenda that neoconservatives hold so dearly? Is it because of the 1-to-100 ratio that equates one gram of crack to 100 grams of cocaine, that has led to a disproportionate number of black men in the prison industrial complex? Or do we know were supposed to dislike Reagan because we watched the first episode of The Boondocks?
At the same time, do we not remember all the promises our current president made? Guantanamo is still open, and the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows for indefinite detention of US citizens, was signed into law.
Perhaps we have to toy with the idea that realistically our progress as a people and as a country lies somewhere in between the left and right; a large purplish gray area between the blue and red where we talk about policy rather than politics, an uncharted territory in today’s political climate.
Don;t get me wrong: I am not here to preach about our downfall and decline of the Bison, to say that we need to reclaim our glory days and were resting on a legacy, or to even say that we don;t care about whats going on in the world and in the community. We care. We just have to know why we care. We need to know what drives that inherent passion that is within us all–just what it is that makes us care about the issues. I know that everyone is not the self-proclaimed politinerd that I am. We all don’t wake up and scour The Hill for the latest news out of Congress or create charts to compare and contrast President Obama’s and Representative Paul Ryan;s budget plans (not that I, uh, have done that or anything…), but we should at least know who is speaking at the Republican National Convention.