The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The other kind of politics

When I think of politics, a lot of things come to mind. Barack Obama, Washington, D.C., lobbyists and leaders to name a few.

But there is a different type of politics. An idea that is not decided on votes, popularity or ideas with platforms and maybe cannot be defined as politics at all. In my head it is the following behind-the-scenes conversations and sneaky operations that trigger how certain aspects of society work.

Let me give you an example as to what I mean to clear some things up.

When I was in seventh or eighth grade, I was on the club basketball team with a bunch of my friends and classmates. I would say that I was a pretty damn good player back in the day, but got little playing time throughout the league.

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I would often get frustrated with being a bench warmer after traveling all across the countryside to play the game that I loved. I would frequently express my dismay to my mother and she would always respond with “Just keep doing your best and maybe you’ll get more minutes.”

I stuck with basketball throughout middle school and high school and soon enough I found out why I never got to play. There were other kids with money. There were other kids’ parents who were boosters and gave the coach money. I was poor. My parents couldn’t afford to help sponsor the team.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying if they would have played me more I would have been the second-coming of LeBron James or something. But after my playing days were over, it became much more evident that what I am saying was true.

A player I looked up to when I was on the freshman squad while still in high school was a kid named DJ Braemer. Braemer was the starting point guard on the team that made it to the state championship. He was also my younger brother’s coach when he was in eighth grade.

While watching one of my brother’s games when Braemer was his coach, I overheard a parent talking about the booster club program, bragging to a fellow parent that he gave Braemer $1,000, “just to help out a little.”

Guess who played every minute of every game? Guess whose minutes on the court that kid was stealing?

My little brother was going through the same thing that I went through at the same age, and when he expressed his frustration to me I said the same thing my mom told me. Because that’s all I could do.

“Just keep doing your best and maybe you’ll get more minutes.”

It’s about time we change that. I hated being benched with nothing I could say or do to make anything better. Unlike Washington, D.C. politics, I couldn’t vote my brother into more playing time. So in a lot of senses, this type of weasel-ish political agenda is much worse than what we hear about on C-SPAN everyday.

When I came to college, I thought everything was going to get better. There was a fresh start. No one knew my name. I could build my reputation as I pleased and no one would judge me for my lack of financial background or anything like that, for UW-Eau Claire’s mission statement says the campus is, “An inclusive campus community that challenges students to develop their intellectual, personal, cultural, and social competencies.”

I have found out, however, that some things never change.

Throughout the course of my time here, I have been judged. I have been overlooked for opportunities given to me because I am not rich, do not look the part of a professional, cannot give anything to the university besides my time and effort and that won’t be good enough.

I am not going to give you the pity speech here, because I know that I could have done better for myself throughout my time at this fine university. I have done some pretty stupid things, but I have grown up more than I could ever imagine in my four years.

I just want fair opportunities for everyone who deserves it. Is that too much to ask?







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The other kind of politics