Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
September 26th, 2005



San Francisco is obviously quite different than Cincinnati, but as I’m starting to observe, it’s exactly the same in one irritating way: everyone thinks that everyone has the same political views. In Cincinnati, I would’ve virtually been the only person to not vote the straight Republican ticket five elections in a row. So what bothered me was that teachers, for example, would simply assume your Republican viewpoints and speak accordingly. The professed Republicans are so confident in their Republicanism that they feel free to chant “Four more years!” in your face and expect you to do likewise.

It’s no different in San Francisco. Although Stanford prides itself on being diverse, they might’ve overlooked the task of diversifying campus opinions. Professors here assume you’d vote the straight Democratic ticket. You can never have a diverse, intellectually thriving campus without people willing to think the other way, without people encouraging thinking the other way.

I’d vote neither way. Until recently in Cincinnati, I was afraid to even admit that I was more liberal-minded than they were. Any liberals, you might presume, would have the obligation to join the Young Democrats Club and get ridden off. In Cincinnati, I’d be considered very liberal. Here, I’d be considered somewhat conservative. I’m in political no man’s land.

What I want to see is a difference in opinion once in awhile. When you have everyone agreeing (or pretending to agree) on politics, politics becomes boring and pointless. In high school, I enjoyed taking the position of maverick, because it challenged people’s assumptions about the world around them, and it gave me something to rant about on occasion. The problem for me now is that, if I choose to act the maverick here, others will simply excuse me for being from Ohio.

This has nothing to do with Ohio.


  1. In high school, the Spanish teachers would always warn about the perils of using the Babel Fish service to quickly translate to and from English and Spanish. It gets better (read: more entertaining) with non-cognate languages.

  2. Some useful use-relative tips for surviving Silicon Valley as a wide-eyed Midwesterner.