It is no secret that Congress is often one of the most unpopular groups in the country. In 2017, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger famously said that Congress is less popular than traffic jams, root canals, herpes, and even Nickelback. Yes, that is correct. Nickelback once had a 7% higher approval rating than Congress’s current dismal 16% approval among the public. It was not always like this, however.
Many believe that the partisan division and the widening split between the two parties’ ideologies can be attributed to the current lack of trust and political dysfunction happening in Washington D.C.
With red states getting redder and blue states getting bluer, it can seem like this dysfunction will simply become the new normal in American politics. However, the contrasting belief that the U.S. electorate is not as polarized as maps’ portrayal of “Red” and “Blue” America is gaining ground and is the foundation of one of Mines’ newest organizations—Purple America Club (PAC).
From their first meeting last semester, members of the Purple America Club have not been afraid about diving right into the taboo world of politics. With few political clubs and political activities happening at Mines, PAC’s president hopes that the club will be able to encourage more political engagement amongst the student body.
“By giving people a place to talk face-to-face, I hoped to show them that just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t necessarily mean that they are unreasonable or misinformed,” said Griffin Metz, the club’s Senior President and an undergraduate student in the Computer Science department.
So what does a typical PAC meeting look like? It starts with some background information about the current issues in the news cycle.
Recently, the group had a discussion about the government shutdown and immigration reform. Arranged in a circle of chairs, members expressed their opinions on the current issues and how they felt they should be solved. After, other members refuted and offered their own viewpoints and sets of solutions to the various issues.
It became clear that despite members’ ideologies varying from liberal to conservative, there were many issues where common ground could be found. Many members who have been a part of these discussions have also gained an increased interest in politics.
“I think PAC has helped to excite them [members] even more about politics,” Metz said. “Purple America is still pretty small but I hope that the club will continue to grow and be able to serve even more people in the Mines Community.”
Students, faculty, and staff who are interested in Purple America can find more information about the club on Orgsync or during any one of its weekly meetings at 7 pm on Wednesday nights in Alderson 130.
All members of the CSM community with any level of political knowledge are welcome to participate as much or as little as they would like. To be added to the club’s email list and receive information about upcoming topics of discussion and other club-related events, contact the club president Griffin Metz via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).