Friday, January 21, 2011

Politics: Is It Even Worth It?

One of my main classes this quarter is "Social Welfare Policy." Basically, the course content reviews any and all U.S. policies that affect vulnerable populations. That is to say, pretty much everything. My professor's approach is to look at major issues (poverty, homelessness, immigration, etc.) from the conservative and liberal perspectives.

I can't tell you how many awkward situations have come up in the classroom already. We've got some very dedicated Marxists on the one hand, stark Republicans on the other. Sometimes it gets downright hostile. It's like everyone is trying to impose their opinion on everyone else. I mean, really, it's dumb.

I don't understand politics. I mean, yes, obviously it would be important to advocate for those who don't have privilege and power--the populations I intend to serve for the rest of my life. But I can only take so much of this stupid game of Republicans and Democrats. It's like, can we PLEASE stop talking so philosophically and actually DO something???

The School of Social Work is telling us that as social workers it's our "professional responsibility" to be politically involved. To tell you the truth, I've only gone to two political rallies in my life. They were fun; not sure if they mattered at all. I guess I'm saying that I don't plan on becoming some crazy activist.

I've given up on politics.


  1. wow. maybe i'm just not very educated on the subject, but it seems like people who have a strictly republican world-view would be a bit repelled by social work in the first place. unless they're trying to privatize it? HAHA. i have no idea. i seriously don't know too much about it.
    i'd be interested to know what some of their arguments were.
    BUT, people need to be respectful of other people's opinions, i totally agree. also, being open-minded and realizing that you don't know everything is so important. i can't even. i have to remind myself sometimes. :S
    lol, college. the more you know, the more you know you really don't know.
    HANG IN THERE (kitty in tree). remember you can hash it out on here anytime, haha.

  2. I know what you mean, Rachel, about being dumbfounded by political conservatives being interested in social work. Not that I don't think they are altruistic in their own way.. (I could say a lot of mean things here but I will refrain.)

    I have to remind myself not to demonize political conservatives for trying to uphold the status quo, being rigidly individualistic and blaming the poor for their poverty, allowing industries to operate unregulated at the expense of exploited labor forces abroad and at home.

    Yet, politically conservative people DO believe that their approach to social welfare is the best. When I look at it, though, it looks awfully like disguised paternalism (I, the privileged and powerful lawmaker, will develop welfare programs that will benefit you, my lesser-educated and otherwise base counterpart) and social control (i.e., "What's the most cost-efficient and minimal way to keep the poor appeased enough so they don't challenge our power?").

    This is very extreme--like this is maybe how some really strong conservatives think. But anyway, it still baffles me.

    Anyway, though, it's like, everyone wants to help somehow--regardless if they're conservative or liberal.

    Blah it's all so ambiguous and contradictory! Thanks for the encouragement.

    "There's just too much information out there to be informed."

    I love that. Too good.