Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2018 – Serving My Community and Country

Name: Momin Razzaque
From: Juneau, AK
Grade: mbat0123.ua@gmail.com
School: mbat0123.ua@gmail.com
Votes: 0

Throughout
my life, I’ve been fascinated with politics. Around the time of the
2008 presidential election, I was 7 and I vividly recall the
excitement buzzing through the atmosphere. I distinctly remember
being mesmerized by electoral maps of the United States that were
shown in the media; red and blue colors representing the political
parties, and the fact that every state chose for itself, comprising
the greater Union. That started me on an autodidactic trajectory to
learn about our system of government.

This
summer, I had the unique and remarkable opportunity to work in the
halls of the 115th U.S. Congress. In April, my application to be a
Page of the United States Senate was sponsored by Senator Murkowski,
and in June, I left for Washington. This job was the culmination of
all of my prior involvement in local government and my interest in
politics, and my first effectual opportunity to serve my country.

Working
every day on the Senate floor with the Republican Majority reframed
my entire perspective on civil discourse. Previously, I had had some
informed convictions on policy, but also some severe misconceptions
on the people who lead the opposing side’s politics. I had been
exposed to a left-wing echo chamber for years, where prominent
Republicans are often portrayed as bad actors. I firmly believe that
there is nothing that could have quite broadened my mind to the
authenticity of the statesmen behind cogent conservative points of
view, many of which I ardently oppose, as working for them every day
in the background during policy meetings and closed-door comments by
U.S. Senators. It became clear to me that while not totally
unfounded, the stereotype of apathetic politicians as shills with no
regard for their constituents was just that; and that we should all
take more time to understand opposing ideas in each realm of life,
instead of demonizing and dismissing them. This, I believe, would
help heal an increasingly polarized and divided nation and make us a
kinder and more connected people.

Last
year, I decided to read some actual political and economic theory. I
started with
Das
Kapital

and
The
Wealth of Nations
.
These works troubled me as I found myself agreeing with major
contentions from both schools of thought. I had gone into these
titles born and raised in this country, where I was taught that
capitalism was good, and that communism was an totally evil. However,
throughout my research, I realized that there is much nuance on the
political spectrum, and that the only way for me to truly understand
what I believe, as someone still impressionable, is to read more of
these classical works, and examine all points of view.

What
I am finding throughout this process is that real political thought
is so much more interesting than the animated glamor of political
campaigns that originally drew me into a passion for politics. I am
enthusiastic about bringing my academic interests and insatiable
curiosity to the dynamic learning environment in college.


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