I think I’m going to add brief posts commenting on the extracurricular activities at school that I get up to, just to be doing it and help me keep my life organized. So here we go, I guess I’ll file this under the “Right Living” auspice of this blog.
I’m an uninitiated member of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity Pre-Law chapter at the University of Kansas, and today was my first event as a local member. I learned a little bit late about representatives from Washburn University Law School coming to visit with aspiring law students today, and I arrived about an hour late. Late as I was, there was still about forty-five minutes of interesting and useful information to be learned. I gathered from the pizza crusts and picked over buffet table that most of the early part of the meeting was spent eating and socializing, so I don’t feel that I missed much. There were three current students of different years representing the school, with what I gathered to be two faculty members. If the faculty members gave a formal talk, that’s what I missed. The students gave advice and shared experiences on how they got into law school, what they believed to be a key to success in law school, what their average day or week was like and even researching which law schools would be best for us. It was informative and interesting, and I wish that I had read my campus email earlier and not missed the first half of it.
After that I moved across the Kansas Union to the Pine Room, where the University of Kansas College Republicans, of which I am a member, were hosting a forum on conservative ideas about the current health care debate. There aren’t a lot of Republicans on campus, and out of those, most aren’t actively involved, that I can see. I’ve been to two KUCR functions so far, and there has been an average of about a dozen people, I’d guess. On a side note, the semester kick-off mixer at The Wheel last Thursday was good itself, though I had to leave early to meet with my Thursday gaming group. There were two speakers at the forum, both of them practicing physicians, one a neurosurgeon and I believe the other said he was a general practitioner. They had some surprising things to say about how the system really works, and the key idea of the evening was the fostering of the patient-doctor relationship. Another piece of information they emphasized strongly was that as government involvement in the health care system has risen, it has brought prices up with it to today’s high levels, while at the same time lowering the amount of subsidies for specific treatments and procedures. I’m not a politico, and if I were my field of interest would not likely be health care, but these men were well spoken, confident and most importantly directly involved in what they were talking about. True to my form, I played “Devil’s Advocate” during the Q&A session after their presentations, and the answer given to me (concerning skepticism of the free market in life and death medical situations) was strongly delivered. I learned some things tonight that I wouldn’t have thought about before, and that’s one reason I’m involving myself in politics at the university level.
If I haven’t mentioned this before, I’m a moderate with “center-right” tendencies, though I have some libertarian leanings as well. Either way I don’t consider myself a “rank and file partisan”, and I’m not interested in defining myself by how well I toe a party line. You therefore shouldn’t expect that I will willingly engage in the cliched screaming matches of “us against them” that so many people seem to like to get up to these days when politics enters the conversation. I’m an American first, and I respect members of parties with opposing ideas as fellow Americans and human beings. Anyone who knows me knows just how hard it is to pin down some of my politics, as I take principled stands on individual issues instead of swallowing a pre-made list from a committee.
I made the decision to join the KUCR and identify myself with Republicans because I feel that is where I can best make an impact for the betterment of my country and fellow citizens. Before, I was not engaged in mainstream politcs, or sometimes even politics at all. I at one time founded a Libertarian Party student group on campus (back in 2001 at KU), but the 9/11 terrorist attacks jarred my conception of who I was, and I went through some soul searching and identity issues that did not involve politics. I have had a few pet political issues over the years, but I have made the decision to move back into the GOP’s “Big Tent”, and maybe help add some dimension to what turned into a flat party image over the previous decade. I want to be part of the solution, and not a bitter armchair commando moaning at the television and anyone who’ll listen while not doing anything proactive.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t love my Democrat friends, or necessarily disagree with them on certain principles. It’s all part of being an active and positive citizen to me. And, like I said, being part of the process and solution.