Essays from the Political Playground 2016
The 2016 Election is approaching and we are all obsessed and appalled, deeply engaged and sick of this crap. But most importantly, we will not stay silent. As young voters — some voting for the first time — it is our turn now to step up and have our say, to make an intervention, to tune our voices to a political key and broadcast our ideas to the world.
For many of us, this is our first presidential vote. For the country as a whole, this is arguably the most divisive election in US history since 1860. How are we — without a long personal experience of electoral politics — to come to terms with the chaos, the alienation and the opportunity of this collective electoral decision?
Our answer is by writing, to use our words in an effort to reach and remake the world.
We seek to write beyond the classroom, to reach out to readers everywhere and open up the space of political speech and political education. We write from a space of learning, from a space of serious play, of trying to experiment with the impact of our voices and the significance of our arguments.
We aim to write in defiance of expectations, if only because any public political conversation is so wrapped in self-diminishing expectations: expectations of Berkeley liberal partisanship, expectations that we will represent the voice of Millennials, expectations that students are apathetic about politics, expectations that young voters are either cynical or naive.
We write from a liminal space between polish and ignorance, between ideology and apathy. Our effort is to be serious without being self-important, committed without being self-righteous. We stand between the random person on the street and the professional pundit, between the 3am Twitterstorm and the primetime CNN panel of partisan experts.
And as it turns out, there is lots of room between those two dominant positions of political discourse around this election.
What we are offering are new perspectives from engaged young people, using a social media platform to express ourselves in the name of understanding our world and pressing the political and cultural conversation forward. The world is changing, and we aim to write ourselves into it.
We hope you will join us.
We are a collection of American Studies students (and one professor) from the University of California at Berkeley