Yesterday was my first class ever with Professor Veenstra, head of the Communications Department. He began the class by asking one of the students what she thought of Donald Trump and then Ted Cruz. There were only eight of us in the class, but I still hoped he wouldn’t ask me what I thought because I did not want to start off his class by telling him that I knew so little about any of the political candidates that I really couldn’t give an educated opinion.
But, lo and behold, he did turn to me. “I haven’t had you before, so I’ll pick on you now. What do you think about Ted Cruz?” I told him I didn’t know, and he moved on. After getting a general feel that most of us in there knew barely anything about the candidates, he quietly remarked, “You are college students, and you don’t know about the candidates running for president?”
His gentle reproof was certainly a good reminder for us that there is, indeed, no excuse for us not to be informed on such an important subject, and I have a feeling that we were not the only ones to whom the remark could apply.
Professor Veenstra, like so many of the professors I’ve had, challenged me to evaluate how I live and why I do what I do (or don’t do). Not only that, but he challenged me to take seriously an aspect of life—yes, even politics—that is under Christ’s rule and is therefore very important. This is part of the college’s mission: to challenge students to change those areas of life which are not consistent with Christ’s reign over all things.
This is also at least part of why Dordt has invited candidates from both political parties to come and speak here. Not because it endorses or agrees with either side, but because it is a great chance for students to be informed and because it will challenge us to engage with what the speakers are saying and form our own opinions.
I appreciate the fact that those of us who are able to see these candidates in person will no longer have the media to filter what we hear, but will have to think for ourselves. Hopefully Cruz, Rubio, and Trump coming to Dordt’s campus will spark some thoughtful and honest conversations about politics.