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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

From Outside The Bubble: Advocating for a pop

<ll term at Carleton was exciting. Many of us spent our time waiting for the next presidential debate and checking the news for the recent poll numbers while a majority of us loudly rooted for Barack Obama to win. I was elated by the number of Carls who showed up in Sayles on Election Day to volunteer. So many volunteers that Carls alone knocked every single door in our Northfield precinct – twice. In class and out we were talking about a new direction for America and the leaders who would best take us there.

There seems to be a trend at Carleton: once every two years politics matter. But once the excitement of an election has passed, so do the discussions of its meaning and the general implications of government in our lives. It is in that moment, every two years, that we step out of the Carleton bubble. Well, the election is over now. But the government is only just beginning to form, and with it, a whole new catalogue of discussions. They are for now, not for two years from now, and it is my hope that this column will help to curb the Carleton bubble that is so eager to encircle us once we return from a brief stay outside. I bring to these efforts one key advantage – I am not in the bubble. Instead, I am spending winter term working in Washington, D.C.

The city is currently in the middle of a transformation as it prepares for Inauguration Day. There is construction all around as a crowded city of just under 600,000 tries to make room for a stampede of two million. It recently became home to the Obamas and this morning, as I crossed through the park that sits just between the White House and the current Obama residence, the Hay-Adams Hotel, my heart even gave a little flutter. But what has struck me the most about my relocation from Carleton to Washington, is that not only has the political discourse not ended here, but it is two sided.

Like much of the political writing at Carleton, what I have written above assumes a liberal audience. There is a general assumption made at Carleton that we all pledge our allegiance to liberal ideals. But the assumption is wrong.

We do not all think the same way about politics and outside the bubble I am glad to see that there is dissention in the discussion. To those at Carleton who thought the President-elect was too inexperienced, to those who cheered “Drill baby drill!” along side Governor Palin, to those who found soon to be Senator Franken crude and conceited, I say: We missed your voices during the election season, we want to hear them now.

I want to hear them, not so that I can argue, but so I can learn. That is, after all, the goal of being at Carleton isn’t it? To learn not only the correct way (and the quickest) to write a paper, but to also learn about the community we will face once we must, begrudgingly, graduate from the bubble. I truly do not understand why someone wouldn’t vote for Barack Obama – not because I am arrogant but because I have never been exposed to anything else. They say that the best way to fully understand one’s own point of view is to understand the opposing side. The election has passed but that does not mean that conservatives on campus should continue to stay quiet. Not only do I advocate for the continuation of the pre-election political discourse, but also I welcome another side to the discussion.

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