Law in Contemporary Society

My Fear of An Unlived Life

-- By AllisonHouston - 29 June 2018

Sometimes I feel strange and out of place being enrolled as a law student because I have no intention of becoming a lawyer, I want to be involved in politics. My end goal aspirations do not include working at a firm till the ripe age of retirement with a career spanning decades. That to me would represent a grave failure on my part and a disservice to myself so extreme that I would have a problem looking myself in the mirror everyday knowing I avoided running for office.

Since I was in preschool, I had always wanted to be a heart surgeon, but I had a drastic change in trajectory after the election of President Obama in 2008. American politics are overwhelming white and male, so to see someone like you attain such a historically inaccessible position was powerful. I think that is why my mother is sometimes wearisome about me entering politics, because the profession doesn’t quite reflect the electorate. She also dislikes the unpredictability and the fact that my employment prospects in that field are dependent on the support of others, rather than a stable well paying law firm job. But, I can’t shake the hope and inspiration that was instilled in me as an impressionable middle-schooler.

Although politics has for the most part been viewed as corrupt, self-serving, unjust, and more often than not an enforcement of hegemonic power structures, it can also be an avenue of profound change, impact, and social progression. The political system can be greatly steered by active civic engagement and participation. Now, since many people are unsatisfied in the wake of the 2016 election, I feel that politics requires participation by those who are willing to rise above the discouragement and vitriol.

But oftentimes I worry that that my cheery disposition towards the good politics can do is just a byproduct of my youth and naivety. I sometimes wonder if with age will I change in my demeanor. I fear losing optimism, I fear losing hopefulness, but I most fear succumbing to jadedness and apathy. Becoming numb and indifferent to problems faced by others is something I don’t ever want to be part of my character.

I think a good way to combat losing those qualities is to know what running and holding office will entail. I have a friend who worked for campaigns prior to law school and I’ve enjoyed having conversations with him. I’ve gotten to hear his stories about campaign faux pas, triumphs, and hardships. I plan on asking him more substantive questions in the future about campaigns, but until then I’ve found inspiration in young people currently running for office. This summer I’m working at MSNBC and so all day I’m constantly surrounded by televisions. Yesterday, I saw reports about a 28-year old named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who beat a ten-term incumbent. Immediately, I was captivated by her win, the platform she stood for, and the grassroots organizing she put in. Although, I’m still quite unfamiliar with the technicalities one must satisfy for running for office, I am energized by people like her, and feel deeply encouraged. I plan to talk with more people about how campaigns work and hope to volunteer for one in the near future before setting out on my own.

You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable. To restrict access to your paper simply delete the "#" character on the next two lines:

Note: TWiki has strict formatting rules for preference declarations. Make sure you preserve the three spaces, asterisk, and extra space at the beginning of these lines. If you wish to give access to any other users simply add them to the comma separated ALLOWTOPICVIEW list.


Webs Webs

r3 - 29 Jun 2018 - 05:05:44 - AllisonHouston
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform.
All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
All material marked as authored by Eben Moglen is available under the license terms CC-BY-SA version 4.
Syndicate this site RSSATOM