Updated: Aug 31, 2022
By Quinton Wood
AVC and SOAR students alike were engaged by politics on their first day of the Spring semester. A large gathering of Democrats was scheduled to appeared at AVC on Monday, February 3rd. The gathering was planned on the SoCal blue website, intended on registering Democratic voters to “fight Trump and the GOP circus of horrors.” The webpage that organized the gathering also claimed, “empowering new Democrats is the #1 most direct, effective way to fight the Trump regime and save our country in 2020.”
These bold claims brought some interesting reactions out of local students. Upon seeing the post, Cullen Stockdale commented “That seems a little biased. But, they are getting people to vote and that’s a good thing.”
But, the actual event was a bit more partisan. Throughout the week, tables have popped up asking students to sign petitions. The So-Cal Blue group was nowhere to be seen. One man working a stand noted, “We are from an independant organization and have no political ties.” Another woman running a booth explained, “We are just trying to get measures on the ballot.” The petitions were advocating policy changes for social well-being, such as limitations on plastic production in California. The women explained the event, “It’s just grassroots democracy, trying to shape policy through signatures.” The event also worked to increase voter turnout and the number of people signing the petition by registering voters at their stands later in the day.
This seems harmless: trying to make positive social change by meeting people face-to-face and encouraging them to vote. But it brings up some exploitory political practices, if done in a partisan way. Youth are particularly impressionable, which may be a large reason that campuses are targeted for political action. The Smithsonian magazine describes teenage brains (of which many people on campus are) as “Ssoft, Iimpressionable Pplay-doh” and explains how they are often susceptible to positive feedback (such as a lollipop or candy given for signing a paper). 2000 years ago, “Corruption of youth” was considered an executable offense (or at least from what Plato tells us). This was one of the charges that Socrates was charged with, because he was known to sway the opinions of Athen’s youth, in particularly heretical ways. While the current events show no evidence of political exploitation on young minds, it is important to be skeptical of political events on college campuses.
The Soarce isn’t sure where the So-cal blue voters showed up, but the events that did occur on AVC showed great possibility to get voters involved but also a great means of exploitation on the youth voting population. Remember to vote but also to be skeptical of any political message you receive.