What Harvard Taught Me- Stepping Up in Political Culture

July 4, 2017

Recently, I was accepted into a program at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government to study American Government in partnership with edX this summer. Not only was I humbled to be granted the opportunity to study from one of America’s top-rated law universities, but I was also excited to learn more about our government and U.S. political culture with a mission to step up and share this knowledge with an audience.


 Photo: Element5 Digital on Unsplash 


As we reflect today on Fourth of July, it is imperative to acknowledge the Founding Fathers that have molded the United States into a globally respected democracy in the years of the Revolutionary Era. The ideas that sparked the American Revolution decades ago essentially are the foundation of America’s political culture. American colonists confidently stood up to fight for their rights against Britain’s tyrannical government and it was not long enough before the armed revolution served to crystallize what Americans had come to believe- that they should be free, equal, self-reliant, and self-governing.

Among many lessons I have learned while studying in the program, one that stands out is that cultural political beliefs can only dictate what Americans find “appropriate” and “desirable”; political culture merely act as boundaries on what the American people will strive for. This is our republic, our democracy, and our government. We are what
drive the nation into success- a success that is continuous upon the
goals and intentions of the American people.

Throughout the years, America has evolved from traditionalism to modernism with a diverse new culture. Recently, the current women’s rights, labor, and LGBTQ movements have gained in popularity- hitting almost every news station and every session in Congress. Some may say that these movements were inevitable to occur; however, it occurred because American individuals decided to step up for a change. They intensely protested, determinatively persuaded, and strongly believed in the underlying passions of their platforms. Regardless of how big or small an idea is, if you have an idea to generate a greater good, I urge you to step up in politics. Whether that is local,regional, statewide, nationwide, or even international, it only takes one step in the right direction to spawn a road map of continuous impact.

Fourth of July is much more than the famous barbecues and the red, white, and blue- it is an emblem of our past, present, and future successes as Americans. The fundamental rights granted to us through the U.S. Constitution should not be taken for granted. We inhabit the land of the free and the home of the brave, and for the future we will continue to honor our nation and allow those sacred values to prevail now, and through generations to come.



Victoria Giardina is a 17 year old incoming senior at Manalapan High School in Manalapan, NJ. Planning to double major in broadcast journalism and political science, she hopes to pursue a career at a news network in New York City. She is the founder of the nonprofit organization Kick It Cancer, president of her class, and a former local titleholder for the Miss America Organization.


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