By Zach Dvorak
Throughout this program, I have had some great moments, but over the past few days, it has become apparent that there is a lack of equality in the partisan choices for speakers. Today just hit the nail on the head and cracked the wood to pieces.
Before I get into some constructive criticism about The Washington Center’s panelists. I want to add that I love hearing from people of all perspectives. No matter how crazy they may be, there can be something to take away from the conversation. It just gets annoying when you hear the same ideology repeatedly. It becomes less about learning and more of a force of brainwashing.
So when we started this morning, we got to hear from two speakers that we expected to they’d talk about the environment and energy. The first speaker was Bob Deans, the director of strategic engagement at Natural Resources Defense Council, who (not surprisingly) took a leftist approach to climate change. While the conversation started with facts that I would hope are credible. It ended in a bashing of Republicans that was a bit excessive. Personally, I understand why it is needed. For every position in politics, one side has to be for it and the other against, and being against the environment is not a good marketing campaign, sorry Republicans. Even still, that doesn’t excuse the constant push on Republican bashing that has gone into this program.
I do want to add, the other aspects of the trip have been amazing, and I have loved every moment of it. (Well, except for maybe the fact of being sick and having to walk 10 miles a day. That combination can’t be too great on the old immune system.) My issue comes with the morning sessions which at this point in the trip seem grating.
The lack of opposing views becomes more evident when our second speaker, Meredith McGehee, the Issue One Chief of Policy, Programs, and Strategy, was supposed to talk about the environment and energy and didn’t speak of either. But I didn’t care about that because she took a bipartisan approach to politics and gave us actual right wing concepts. Now, was the actual lecture great? The answer for me is meh, not really. A more strong focus would have been nice to hear. Although, it was the first time we had the chance to hear different points, and based off of the questions asked to her; the group seemed to enjoy it.
I think for a group of political junkies the opportunity to discuss differences in viewpoints is wide open, and yet we have little to show for it in our large group. Now, when us Drake students get together and speak within ourselves, the conversations do begin. Which makes me appreciate the people on this trip and the community Drake University has given its students. So I thank The Washington Center for their inability of providing me a new and thoughtful perspective, which in return has made me appreciate my university way more than I did before.