I consider myself an independently liberal-ish conservative-ish sort of guy. That’s a good thing to be, I think. It means if you are a politician, speak and I will listen. If I like what you say, you have my vote. If I don’t, no vote. Your party affiliation does not matter to me in the slightest. Like I tell my students: I honestly do not care if someone is liberal or conservative as long as he or she is nice to people and does good things for people. So, does political conversation belong in the college classroom? Absolutely. In any college classroom? Well, I can’t think of any class on a campus where a conversation on politics would not belong. But I do have a caveat: I absolutely believe that all people have a right to self-determination (that being a basic tenant of social work). That means I do not believe a teacher should ever persuade his or her students to be liberals or conservatives, democrats of republicans. I say that because I absolutely believe it to be right, and also, because I teach social work—and teachers of social work have often been accused of preaching liberalism. I know some do. I do not. I will never try to convince my students to be a liberals or conservatives.
But I will always try to convince my students to be nice people, and I hope I have taught them well enough to know what that means to me.