by Sungtae Park (뉴잉글랜드 시민협회 정치인턴)
The highlight of the internship program was when Michael Dukakis, a highly respected former-Governor of Massachusetts and a former-presidential candidate, came to the State House to speak. Governor Dukakis’ lecture about becoming passionate about politics was perhaps the most inspiring lecture of the entire summer. Even better was when he kindly stayed after the lecture to talk with students. While I understood that Governor Dukakis’ views and my views on many issues differed, I decided to engage him anyway after the lecture, and so I had an opportunity of having a very informative and interesting debate with him on issues such as health care, social security, and economy. Even though my views have not changed as a result of the debate with Governor Dukakis, he did truly open my eyes to even more diverse array of perspectives, ideas, and solutions to contemporary problems.
As I have mentioned before, politics is not merely about knowledge. It is also about the process and also your ability to muddle your way through many different factors involved in the process without losing the sight of your ideals. A great politician holds highly moral ideals, appeals to idealism, and at the same time manipulates these different forces in politics to achieve his ideals. An average politician, on the other hand, adheres to these different forces in politics and simply sways with the wind. As a single politics major, who has been studying nothing but politics past three years and as someone, who is strongly interested in going into politics in the future, perhaps not as an elected official, but certainly as an advisor on policies, the internship experience in the State House was a highly valuable one. I would have known but would have never truly experienced the complexity of politics, unless I could work side-by-side with actual politicians.
I would like to close my writing by extending my gratitude to the Korean American Citizens League of New England for giving me this brilliant opportunity. There are very few Asian Americans, let alone Korean Americans, in American politics today. I believe that is the case not only because Asian Americans find it difficult to climb up the political ladder but also because proportionally less Asian Americans are interested in politics. Even at my college, Brandeis University, I always find that proportionally less number of Asian Americans is majoring in International and Global Studies or Politics. Even Asian Americans, who have interest in politics, often choose legal studies, economics, or business. That is not to say that there exists no Korean who has achieved high positions in American Politics. Victor Cha, currently a professor at Georgetown University and an advisor to the think-tank CSIS, was the former-Director for Asian Affairs in the National Security Council of the White House and was President George W. Bush’s top advisor on North Korean affairs. If more Asian Americans simply choose the path of politics, I am certain that we will see more Asian American politicians and government officials in the United States, and I believe the KACL is doing a wonderful job giving opportunities to as well as motivate Korean Americans to become involved in politics. I hope the organization all the success in its future endeavors.
ⓒ 보스톤코리아(http://www.bostonkorea.com), 무단전재 및 재배포 금지