“Go and set the world on fire.”
Two months ago, I held my first adult passport. My friends and family were excited for me. The prospect of travelling to London, a world-renowned city with an ever so long history packed with drama and splendor, made me absolutely giddy. To witness such an important election, to walk among the city’s famous sights, to enjoy the nightlife… it made the college student, the videographer, and the night owl in me ecstatic. It was an adventure in every sense of the word.
Two months later, I am still in disbelief that I was there for such a fascinating moment in international history. As fellow #HoyasInUK member, Will Linde, said so eloquently, we witnessed a “rejection of a rejection.” Labour’s victory over ‘secure’ Conservative seats and the successes of Jeremy Corbyn both signal a populism movement rejecting the Brexit movement. Being able to study these movements in real-time by meeting strategists, campaign managers, and MPs of both parties is exactly what I came to Georgetown for.
Today, I am still reflecting on what Edward Weizenegger, #HoyasInUK member, said at the airport as we prepared to travel back home. He said, “we have a young generation that is not being understood or captured by the professionals who are paid to do this.” Some are terrified about this. I remember when we watched the Conservatives lose their majority, my first thought was, “nothing makes any sense anymore.” The polls keep being wrong. This could be terrifying, but I am excited by this.
Fighting for one’s worldview, convincing others to share in one’s vision, and getting to the hearts of the people are viable campaign strategies again. This London trip made politics personable for me by putting me in the front seat of history. The trip gave me behind-the-scenes access to smart political minds. Most importantly, it showed me that people can still win elections when they focus their words, their policies, and their hearts on the people.
As I approach graduation in a year, I know that I will be thinking a lot about this trip. I will be thinking about the political lessons I have learned from the trip, and I will be reminiscing on the beauty of London. I will laugh with other #HoyasInUK group members when we meet again, and continue to reflect on some of the smart comments that the MPP students made. #HoyasInUK was a perfect example of a Jesuit tradition: to go forth and set the world on fire. I am thankful for having been a part of it, and will continue to look for similar ways to share and grow my passions at Georgetown.