Wednesday, January 7, 2015
How I Spent Winter Break
Because I like writing, I wanted to have one class with a paper instead of an exam this semester. Professor Jessica Levinson’s seminar “Money and Politics” really appealed to me both because I’m interested in politics and because I liked her dry sense of humor when she spoke to our class last year. The class was great - it forced me to question my own assumptions about campaign finance and look deeper into the unexpected repercussions of certain policies. For example, I was an advocate of absolute transparency and disclosure for all political contributions, because it seemed reasonable to know who is funding any given candidate or ballot measure. But now I also see the other side of the argument – that a donor might feel strongly about a candidate or issue, but might want to keep that opinion and the donation that expresses it private. After all, when we go into the voting booth, we vote with privacy, and that’s a given. People would be horrified if they thought their voting record would be listed in a database on the web somewhere. So why should it be that way for their political donations?
The Money and Politics paper was due on the last day of exams, which is typical for a class with a paper. This turned out to be a double-edged sword. Yes, I had extra time to work on the paper after the other final exams, but I was in the library until the bitter end of the final exam period, while everybody else was already kicking back. Fortunately, I enjoy researching and writing, so 12 hours everyday in the library is…well, if not an unbridled joy, it’s at least something I usually find very engaging.
Winter Break itself was good! You have to have a break. You work your tail off during the semester, and doubly so during finals, so you need some time to relax and gear up for the next round. I have family in Colorado and we always spend Christmas there. It’s beautiful and cold and snowy and we always get our White Christmas fix. Plus, it’s really nice to have family to help take care of our three-year-old boy.
We start back on January 12th and I’m getting started on the reading now. It will be another challenging semester!