a personal bio.

Admittedly, I have a flare for the dramatic. And no, I don’t mean the catty “I told everyone about your dirty little secret” kind of teenage drama that seems inevitable if you are in high school or just reached puberty. I’m talking about the skillfully thought out, thrilling one-liners and plot twists essential to a successful TV-drama. If you’ve ever seen the pilot episode of Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing,” you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. The show begins, as you might presume, by introducing you to the characters. You also might predict that these critical White House staff members would be caught in some sort of political emergency or theatrical grabber involving their prestigious place of work. Instead, we see the Deputy Communications Director at a bar, discreetly eyeing a woman across the room, a woman who later is revealed to be a prostitute to the audience as well as to Rob Lowe’s unknowing character, Sam Seaborn. We are then transported to a gym where we are introduced to the White House Press Secretary: a tall woman flirting with an uninterested man running quietly next to her before she falls off the back of her treadmill. The Chief of Staff is a serious looking man with a raspy voice, answering a phone call in his home. You get the idea. All of the scenes show characters in the midst of their eclectic personal lives, and all of the scenes then show these personal activities disrupted by some piece of alarming news about an elusive “Potus.” I hope I haven’t given anything away by writing this out (the storyline works much better when spoken aloud). But flash back to Seaborn, now in the apartment of the hooker the morning after – still unaware of the full extent of his situation, I might add. As she informs him that he received a page saying “Potus in a bicycle accident.” Now the hooker is just as confused as we are, commenting that Sam’s friend Potus has a funny name. And here’s when we get to my favorite part. The ingenious one-liner, the clarity in this inexplicable scenario, the drama in this smart, thought-provoking script. Sam makes his way to the door, now half dressed and fully disheveled as he hurries to make it to the “office” (an endearing way of describing the west wing of the White House). “He’s not my friend, he’s my boss, and it’s not his name, it’s his title,” he explains to the prostitute, now high from the weed she’s been smoking. And just before he reaches the door Sam turns around and says, “President of the United States.”

In the end, I love the drama of it. I love the backwards way of first examining the lives of White House staffers instead of their jobs. And how, in the end, Sorkin really was examining both. But mostly, I love this impressive introduction because I love politics, and I love drama, and this is the only outlet where I find it even remotely acceptable to find them wrapped up in one big package. In real life? Well, in real life I am very much a proponent of keeping politics drama free. In real life, I’m still a junior in college holding on to the hope that someday ratings will no longer be the major influence in media coverage, and that students will once again be at the center of political activism. If I had the ability to convince American youth of one thing (wishful thinking, I’m aware), it would be that the young citizens of our country can and should be involved in things that can make a difference on a national and global scale, and should at least avoid the apathy which has come to define so many young political mindsets. In an effort to work towards such high aspirations, my own goal is to inspire student activism in myself, and in others through words. Words and opinions and knowledge free from political drama, and full of political realities, and of the moment issues and facts.

So, yes. I am one of those people that loves a little drama now and again. (Who doesn’t?) But when that overly dramatic response pops into my head, or I daydream of living out the life of one of the characters on the West Wing, I remember that theatrics are better watched then lived. And sometimes reality is  just more fun.

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