Every time I ask someone which political party students are mostly affiliated with on campus, I hear the word “Democrat.” However, talk is cheap. If this statement is true, where in the world are these left-wing students hiding? I have searched everywhere. From Aldrich Park to the infamous Veggie Grill itself, all I seem to stumble upon are articles promoting Republican Sarah Palin, students holding “Nobama Care” signs and Dick Cheney’s taunting face threatening to waterboard me if I am late to Statistics 10A. (Just kidding about that last part.)
I know we have a Democratic club on campus but, my left-wing friends, this is not enough. We need more representation. Instead of sitting at Peets Coffee, go outside and hold up a sign next to my good 18-year-old friend that is not paying taxes, but seems to be passionately concerned about Obama’s new health care bill because his daddy is discomforted. I am sick and tired of incoming freshmen and freshwomen (for political correctness), or any student, for that matter, complaining because Irvine “isn’t like Berkeley.” I used to be one of those students. I was disappointed that Irvine was not as left-winged as the city of San Francisco. I came into this school with a negative attitude, cursing the political apathy or extreme conservative air that resonates through the campus and community.
That was extremely foolish on my part. But then I woke up and realized that this was exactly what I needed. I needed such an environment in order to bring about change. Being in a mostly conservative county didn’t make me want to suddenly vote “Yes” on 8 just because of my geographic location. It did not make me suddenly bow down to Sarah Palin or Christine O’Donnell. In fact, being in an environment that is politically driven by conservatives and Republicans motivated me to speak out and let those interested know that I exist. I am not on some bus full of hippies in Santa Cruz, but I am walking around Ring Road just like you. The world spins ‘round and ‘round because of opposition and people have many different ideas. Contribute to the rotation of the Earth’s tectonic plates. If you are worried about “haters,” just remember that if opposition exists, you are doing your job in being passionate about your cause. The haters will exist, and so will the lovers. In addition, don’t worry if you don’t feel supported. We are here to represent our opinions, not to convert other students. Let’s leave that to the religious groups on campus.
When you’re walking to your interesting biology class and you notice a table full of libertarians being paid by the hour to display a picture of President Barack Obama with a Hitler mustache, be concerned. Do not just walk past it. This is an injustice. Why? Not because we should bow down and worship the floor Obama stands on. It is an injustice because Adolf Hitler was behind the mass murder of millions of innocent human beings. He inflicted torture upon the Jewish community in the most inhumane of ways. This does not compare in any way to President Obama’s actions in the past two years and, therefore, I declare this mustache completely inappropriate! Stand up to this and hold up a sign. You have time, I know you do. I will join and make us cupcakes. Hold me accountable to my words, unless I have a midterm. Then we might have to reschedule.
Before I end this pretentious article, I want to remind my fellow left-wing students about something that I have noticed and found thoroughly disappointing. From various conversations with my friends who lean toward the left, I have unfortunately heard words being muttered like “We cannot bring about change, we are too small in number” or “Get out of here, Nuha, this is Irvine. People don’t care for such topics. You should have gone to Berkeley or Santa Cruz.”
I disagree. We can bring about change. We can be represented if we stand together and voice our opinions. Enough with the negative attitude and the apathy. Contribute to your local paper with your views. Apply for a show on the college radio station. (Listen to my liberal talk show!) Blog about your position. Post links! Use Twitter, Facebook, or whatever you use, and use it to spread awareness!
By sparking awareness, you have essentially changed things in one way or another. Whether it be in the eyes of one student or many, you have acted. This is exactly how Berkeley and Santa Cruz have gained their left-wing reputations – because of those who believe in change and in voicing their opinions. Come out of your shells and join me in my struggle to finally bring about positive change at the beautiful campus of UC Irvine.
Nuha Abusamra is a second-year political science major. She can be reached at email@example.com.