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Let’s Talk Politics (Oh No!) on This Friday’s Open Thread

As we do every Friday, we're turning Racket over to you, our readers.

Em Cassel

Here at Racket, we gently usher you into the weekend each Friday with an opportunity for small talk. Oh, but not this week, pals! This Friday, we wanna know what you believe.

Our prompt is inspired by this quote from Mira Altobell-Resendez, from this week's story on the U of M protesters:

You know, there's the stereotype that people will be super progressive in college and then become more conservative. And that's complete bullshit; you don't need to lose the passion you have for justice. 

So, what we want to know is how have your politics changed over time? And to break the ice, I'll go first.

As a kid from a blue-collar New Jersey family fortunate enough to attend schools with much wealthier peers (why didn't you marry one of 'em, dummy?), I built up a heady steam of class resentment by the time I graduated college. Left-leaning but hardly politically active, I honed my beliefs in grad school (shout out to Bruce Robbins, who expresses himself so well here, for assigning Raymond Williams's Culture and Society) while also learning just how annoying leftists could be.

My belief that capitalism, the further it expands, increasingly crushes human lives and corrodes culture is, if anything, stronger than it was 30 years ago. I've seen it happen and I've got the receipts—the margins on which my friends and I once cobbled together relatively comfortable existences have consistently shrunk. But I'm less sure of what the alternative is, and how we can reach it.

I know it's more likely that younger leftists, out of necessity, will figure out what to do than I will. I also know that it's a cop-out to slough all the work off on to them. And I'm positive that any successful movement will balance the lessons of experience from the old and the energy and commitment of the young.

So, at 54, how do I square my belief in the need for radical social change with my acceptance of the fact that severely compromised liberalism at least buys us some time to explore our options? I ask myself that every day.

OK, that's enough from me. Now let's here your political life story. Or talk about whatever else you want. This is your Open Thread, after all.

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