Hopelessness hangs like a pall over our swollen government in Washington, as this young conservative and recent college graduate can attest from a recent visit there. Yet the false lures of money, success and a political career still seem to be attracting my fellow conservative youth to its epicenter every day.
Every young person interested in politics hopes to travel to Washington, land that big job, establish themselves and begin working to reshape the political world. Yet it is not our conservative values that guide us there, but rather the promises of a big government which has subtly misled us.
I was able to experience this firsthand during a five-day trip I spent in DC. On the first night I attended a Capitol Hill celebration for July Fourth, where. I met several young people my age that all had the same dream of going to Washington, DC, and establishing themselves and being building their career in politics.
One of those was Michael, who is a recent graduate economist from Ohio. He is currently working within the Department of Finance in DC. He described to me his experience thus far as “concerning.” He mentioned how the tasks he has had to perform for his work, he felt were far invasive into people’s lives.
These experiences bothered him, but he played it off as something to joke about by saying that if he was not careful, “President Obama’s drone would get him.” I did not think it was a laughing matter. A testimony like his should serving as a guidepost or warning for any young conservative looking to work in DC.
Even at the Young Leaders Training conference which I was fortunate to attend at the Leadership Institute; the mood in the room was of youthful exuberance and naivety. Throughout the weekend students discussed their different experiences and internships held, each hoping it would bring them that big job in DC politics.
Taton and Alexa, for example, both will become interns for the Leadership Institute. They are hoping to use that experience as a launching platform into political careers in DC.
I do not think this is wrong by any means; when we are young there is no better time to have opportunities like this. However, I do believe that prudence is necessary for any of us who desire to go out to DC and begin a career in politics. Every organization within that town draws its means of business and livelihood in reliance upon the government.
For young conservatives looking to make a career out there it is necessary to realize the cost that decision will take upon their ideology. Looking back to the example of Michael, it is much more difficult to change the system of government that he is now both relying on and, and the same time, fearful of.
Working to sort out my own thinking on this potential career move, I keep reflecting on those three words ambitious, young, and naïve that I repeatedly encountered while spending that week in Washington.
It’s heavy, trying to map a course for my future and imagine the events that I hope might bring me out there someday. I do know this: we as young conservatives cannot expect to change the momentum of big government with our present level of inexperience.
Rather, the first step for me or any of us is to establish a firm grasp of our personal identities and to start by being realistic about what role, if any, each of us could play in fighting against the ever-increasing scope of government.