Political Engagement

Sophia McCrimmon, Editor-in-Chief

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Whether you were thrilled at the outcome and eager for change or fearful and ready to fight, it’s easy to recall your feelings immediately before and after the 2016 election. Students on both sides of the aisle were fired up and filled with an eager appetite for political activism. By this time in January, however, that kind of drive sometimes fades into the background as our days become cluttered with extracurriculars, homework, and exams. Yet this is exactly the point at which activism and advocacy matter the most. This is when the process of governing really begins in earnest, on the state and federal level.

 

This issue of the Jabberwock showcases a couple of compelling examples of how students can get engaged. Though admittedly both have a partisan bend towards the Democratic party, they can provide some promising ideas to students all across the political spectrum. This weekend, hundreds of thousands of women- and several Maggie Walker students- gathered in our nation’s capital to demand that women’s rights be  prioritized by the new presidential administration. Though its ultimate policy repercussions are yet to be witnessed, the movement showcased the best that our democracy has to offer and the power of thousands of voices when they come together.

 

Two days later, other students engaged in the decidedly less glamorous but equally democratic endeavor of lobbying at the Virginia General Assembly. As the General Assembly comes into session, issues from gerrymandering to transgender rights are on the docket. Though national politics are important, it’s easy to forget that some of the most consequential legislation is actually passed and implemented on the state level. During my time at Maggie Walker, I’ve made a habit of visiting the G.A. every year during session to talk to my legislators about an issue that’s important to me, like funding for Virginia governor’s schools. I highly encourage other students to do the same, regardless of your interest in political science or lack thereof. Though speaking one on one with a legislator might only make an imperceptible difference, there is still something empowering about engaging so directly with the legislative process and connecting with another person on an issue you find compelling. Regardless of whether you succeed or fail, the experience is immensely educational and empowering. Opportunities abound in the coming weeks for lobbying opportunities, I highly encourage you to partake.

 

Whether you’re attending a protest or talking to your legislator, engaging with the political process doesn’t end after the first tuesday in November. There are myriad opportunities to continue your civic education outside the classroom, and there’s always something to be learned through political activism.

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Political Engagement