I am a politicosaurus, hear me roar

By Emma Claire Sohn

My name is Emma Claire and I have a problem. I am afflicted with a juvenile obsession for dinosaurs. I’ve maintained my interest in the mammoth beasts since I was first introduced to them at a callow age, an interest socially acceptable to a point, but eventually outgrown.

Monday I turned 21. It was a day marked by an especially large cake, a few white Russians and a great deal of growing up. I am officially entitled to every adult right I could ever desire – and then some. I can peruse the sophisticated selection of wines at the liquor store and inevitably retreat down the Boone’s Farm aisle, choosing carefully from their rainbow of dirt-cheap apple-wine products.

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As appealing as that may sound, turning 21 has brought on an internal big bang realization. I am growing up. I’m maturing and mentally moving away from my reptilian counterparts, yet concurrently catching up to them in age. With this age comes stern responsibility, as demonstrated through a professionally focused field of study and my role as a politically infused opinions columnist.

It’s undeniable that I’m outgrowing my fixation with the cretaceous period and focusing more on very grown-up things.

I’ve become enthralled with politics, human rights and environmental concerns – the responsible rhetoric that fumed from the “adult” table at the holiday dinners of my youth.

Back when I sat at the “kids’ table” my mind was allowed to wrap itself around all facets of dinosaurs. Children are obsessed with the realm of their own thought and exploring the breadth of ideas that their young minds are capable of rendering. And when a concept is indefinite, yet simultaneously tangible (like the dinosaurs) we are left to our own devices in sculpting it to whatever form we please.

We know dinosaurs were behemoth animals that romped the earth eons ago, but if I want to think that the skin of the mighty stegosaurus was dappled with pink polka-dots, who are you to tell me otherwise?

Because no one has ever seen or touched a dinosaur they are malleable in concept, hence their appeal.

Today I do a lot of thinking about politics. The plush dinosaurs I toted in my youth have been replaced by a MacBook constantly tuned to whatever media source I can conjure. And I’m not complaining. I love maintaining a working knowledge of the world surrounding me and using that knowledge to extract my own educated opinions.

But I will not let my juvenile admiration for dinosaurs be diminished by such things. My love for dinosaurs is in fact, very closely related to my newly developed political passion.

Much of what science has established about dinosaurs is based on educated hypotheses. There is no omniscient authority on the subject. We have a lot of evidence, but in many cases your guess is as good as mine.

Similarly, no one holds the definitive answer to our political, social and environmental ailments. Just as no one has ever come face to face with a Tyrannosaurus Rex from the past, no one can predict the most effective solutions to today’s problems within our society.

But democracy is based in the philosophy that your needs and opinions are just as relevant as my own, which are just as relevant as those held by Bill Gates or Barack Obama. When functioning correctly, our government is a working demonstration of the individuals that comprise the country – people who have a right to representation via our elected officials as much as possible.

And so, in the words of the prophetic Jimmy Buffet, “I’m growing older, but not up.” I may be maturing according to society’s standards, but dinosaurs and politics will continue to peacefully coexist in my heart.

I relish in my own efforts to mentally recreate past worlds ruled by dinosaurs, but I also revel in the concept that I live in a country where my ideas can and will be heard.

I am part of a society working to create a better place for future dinosaur enthusiasts, propelled by a imaginative conscience. A democracy where my opinions are key to projecting and shaping the future.

I am a politicosaurus, hear me roar.