The Road to Power
As is often said, "Knowledge is power." However, former President Bill Clinton stated at the Campus Progress National Conference last week, "You cannot turn truth to power unless you have it to begin with." Clinton spoke on the notion that many people claim to be politically educated and take powerful stances on controversial issues, yet they are fighting for a side without knowing all the facts.
Often, people take a stand on one aspect of a controversy without having any knowledge of the opposition. He reprimanded those who believe that knowing only half the truth is sufficient evidence to make an argument. At the Campus Progress National Conference, where more than 1,000 young people were eagerly grabbing on to his words, Clinton advocated on the need for us to take the responsibility of learning the complete truth and turn that "truth to power," as the motto of the conference stated.
Throughout Clinton's speech, it became abundantly clear what my responsibility and purpose is here this summer in Washington D.C. as a Machon Kaplan participant. Attending classes where we are presented with the facts of government processes and decisions, hearing speakers share their personal experiences with legislative debates, and speaking to Members of Congress from all parties, we are beginning to achieve the first part of Clinton's message. It is now our obligation to take that truth and turn it into power. Through interning at non-profit organizations, we have begun to empower ourselves by learning even more on important issues and advocating for them. Our next step, lobbying our Members of Congress, is another small advancement toward power. It is our commitment to progressive reforms that mandates us to leave Washington D.C. and further turn our knowledge to power by continuing to teach what we have learned to others and share our experiences here this summer.
Emily Michaels is a participant in the Machon Kaplan Summer Social Action Internship Program, interning at the National Education Association.