OU Cousins was an organization I was so blessed to be apart of this year. Not only did it open my eyes to meet more students from around the world, but it also deeply effected my prospective on the importance of objects. Before I get into my article, I want to talk about what I have learned from these international students this past year. Although my OU cousin and I weren’t very close, I became close to my best friends cousin, who is from Vietnam. I think the biggest lesson I learned this year from all the international students was that we as Americans are usually much to materialistic. They made me realize the value of memories, and to appreciate the small things in life, and I can’t wait to meet more international students next year.
The OU Cousins BBQ is something they do every year as a tradition to end the year. This year I had an absolute blast attending. We were bused out to a fun ranch where we two stepped, and sang country music and just had a great time. OU Cousins is something I am really glad I got involved with this past year because not only did I meet so many wonderful people from around the world, but I got to learn about different ways of life, and see prospectives I wouldn’t have, and more than that, I got some pretty cool new friends.
Today I attended an event entitled, “Into the Mainstream”. The event was a lecture focused on the rise of populist political parties in Europe. The lecture started out with some brief introductions, and then we got started. Dr. Reinhard was the professor who gave this lecture and everything he had to say was incredibly interesting to me. I love attending things like this because I am able to learn things about the world that I never usually would in one of my classrooms.
He started out by saying how many of the populist political parties in Europe are very hard to analyze because they vary greatly from region to region and are constantly changing. He continued by discussing as to why he believes populism is coming back. He say it is because liberal democracy’s are being called to question, and people are now wanting to break taboos, and say radical statements more than ever. He claimed that populist parties are doing these things for “the forgotten” people in the country, usually the common people. The populist political parties mainly focus on issues such as racism, nativism, heterophobia, which is the fear of new cultural beliefs and ideals, and even sometimes things such as antisemitism. He talked about how many populist political parties in Western Europe are very liberal, while parties in Eastern Europe are more anti western. But the thing these parties do have in common is that they all want less globalization, and more inner nationalization for their nations. Populism can be political, a mobilization strategy, or simply an ideology built around the fact that people are one, and that there is very little diversity within a group of people. Dr. Reinhard believes the rise of populism is also occurring because more and more people are sick and tired of questioning the legitimacy of the political parties.
His speech was very eye opening because populism is not something we hear about everyday, but yet, what is occurring is very important in Europe; as our own president in the states adopted many populist beliefs when he ran for office. I was intrigued and am very glad I attended this event.