As political activity has begun to heat up in recent weeks, I have done some reflecting on the government. When the last election came around, I was in middle school, and politics never weighed heavily on my mind. However, as I inch closer to the date when I officially will become a voting adult, I have tried to think more about the politics and government in our country.

The word democracy is thrown around constantly in reference to our government and the ideals of the United States. The term democracy first arose in the city-states of Ancient Greece (most prominently, Athens). Aristotle considered democracy “rule by the many,” which made sense at the time but Greece consisted of a direct democracy, where all male landowners would be participants in governmental decision making at town meetings. Today, democracy is more often considered “rule by the people”. The most common form of democracy in the U.S. is an indirect democracy, in which the people elect officials to represent them and their ideas.

So, on that note, I would like to pose a question. Is today’s democracy actually rule by the people? Does the common person have a say in our government, as the majoritarian theory might suggest, or is it up to the elected officials to run our country, as the elitist theory implies?

While this is a tough question, and I’m sure there are many different opinions on this matter, I think I have formulated a few of my own answers as of late. When it comes to a polarizing issue, such as abortion, healthcare, religion, gay marriage, etc, then politicians are often listening to the voices of those who voted for them so that they can be re-elected. There are so many different avenues today for Americans to express their opinions and/or frustrations, including radio talk shows, television, Facebook, Twitter and a host of other social media, that the opinion of the populate should become evident. People want their voice to be heard. Moreover, if a politician makes a decision that goes against the majority of his voters’ beliefs, he will hear complaints about it, and it could affect the outcome of future elections. So, in a situation where a popular topic is in question, then the majoritarian theory is true, and, in fact, elected officials will tend to behave how the electorate would want them to.

But, those are just the instances where the average American knows the topic at hand. Consider all of the intricacies and matters of government that are simply unknown to the typical American. For every one of the commonly known issues, there are dozens of items that elected officials deal with outside the scope of public awareness. These stay kept under wraps. In such circumstances, I believe that the country is ruled by the elitist theory, in which elected officials choose to use their own judgment to decide what decisions they think are best.

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Gone, But Not Forgotten

So, earlier today I sat at this very desk, writing a letter to my little brother who is away at camp. I was in the midst of the letter when, after filling him in on mundane events at home, I began to ask him a series of questions. They were simple queries like: “How is your counselor?” and “Have you played a lot of sports already?” And as I composed the letter, I couldn’t help thinking back to my past summers and the experiences I had at sleep-away camp.

I couldn’t have predicted the wave of nostalgia that came rushing over me. Memories from my glory days at camp flooded my mind. I mean, those were some of the best days of my life, and for any camper or former camper reading this, I think you might agree. I can still picture the calendar that hung on my bedroom wall, and how I would mark the sixty-days until camp started. As for the bus rides up to camp, they were vital to the overall experience. Over the course of the trip, we would stuff ourselves with as much candy as possible for we knew that once at camp, aside from the occasional trek to the canteen, we would have to go cold turkey on junk food until Visiting Day. The big, old bus would creep closer and closer to camp grounds, and the excitement would escalate. Everyone would speculate and gossip about the summer to come. I would charge off the bus, anxious for that first breath of fresh mountain air, and for the feel of crunchy grass and pine needles under my feet. Yup, after a long year of waiting, the countdown was over. I was finally back again.

Looking back, I can see how remarkable and unbounded those summers away at camp really were. The days would linger endlessly. Lazy, hazy days filled with sports, girls, and friends. Not a worry on my mind. Nowhere to rush. No one to call, text or email.

So many memories remain, but most special to me is one from my final summer at camp. On the last night, my bunkmates and I gathered around a fire on the beach and sang our camp alma mater, as we rocked back and forth under the moonlight. We were all aware of the fact that this was the last time we would ever be living together. We were happy, sad and proud all at same time. The image of us huddled on that beach is one that will never leave me.

If you have any distinctive memories from your summers as a child, I’d love to here.

The Beginning

Hello All,

Yes, this is my first blog post. As I sit here, it feels a bit awkward and foreign to be writing to an open audience. But, most things in life take a little while to get used to.

Well, the first question I asked myself when deciding whether I should create a blog was “Why?” I thought long and hard about this, and came to a few conclusions. In school, I am a part of an Independent Humanities Research program, where I write articles and pieces of literature and then meet weekly with a faculty mentor to discuss them. Now that school is over, I realize that I need a new venue where I can continue my writing. Yes, I will try to write stories even though school has ended, but at the moment, blogging seems like a promising and boundless endeavor. To have unbiased readers, who don’t know me, read my work is an exciting prospect.

On a different note, I believe that the one of the beauties of writing lies in the very nature of the written word, as the written word allows for certain opinions and points of view to be communicated more gracefully than if they were spoken. At certain times, I find it more cathartic or heartfelt to express a sentiment or a belief through prose, rather than through interlocution. When I have had a pressing matter on my mind, but I was without the appropriate audience around to listen, the matter stayed bottled up in my head, and I begin to itch to unleash my feelings. Thus, I started a blog to create a place where I can express emotions, analyze a topic, or discuss an issue in our society. I also believe that a blog can be a force for change if it reaches the right audience at the right time. A blog can be powerful, both to me and to the readers, which is precisely why I decided to meander down this path.

When reading the introduction to blogging provided by WordPress, I came to understand that most people choose a specific purpose or topic for their blog. After some thought on the topic, I realized that as of now, that is the last thing that I want. I created a blog to be able to write based on any particular whims I may have at a given moment. I want to be able to explore any subject, through any lens I choose. I have no idea where this blog might take me, and that is what excites me.

Well, there goes that: I’m officially a blogger! I am excited to continue to blog on an ongoing basis, and explore the metaphysical and tangible world with everyone. Hope everyone’s enjoying summer!

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”