Brian Jaap: fearless on getting involved

Alone in an empty room, he glares so scornfully at the computer as if trying to burn a hole in it. It is fourth period on a somber Wednesday, Nov. 9, a disillusion of emotions, fear, and pain, cocktails around his ringing head as his worry for the future of America grows.

His fingertips slam the flimsy keyboard of his laptop.

Flashback prior to Donald Trump winning the 2016 election, he is found sitting through a debate between the Young Democrats and Republicans, it is hard to miss his tall stature, and contagious smile. He is attentive yet lost in thought, sporting his infamous Alan Kantrud shirt, and observing the energy of the debate before carefully crafting his refutation. Dimples grow deep within his cheeks as he smiles at a remark made by a friend, and then the perfect argument hits him.

He opens his mouth to speak.

Scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, chances are one of the two interfaces will introduce senior Brian Jaap, a bubbly, huggable, well-rounded student, and a notable young politician. Among many retweets of news, his infamous Dear President Trump paper, his Instagrams of Young Democrat gatherings, his I’m With Her posts, and a separate spam feed of opinions, it is undeniable the passion he holds.

“Dear President Trump, damn, that felt weird to say…Your campaign has been completely and utterly based off of hate, from the deportation of millions of Muslims, to the fact that you want to appoint a supreme court justice that will overturn the law ruling same sex marriage legal.” -Brian Jaap, Dear President Trump

“Dear President Trump, damn, that felt weird to say…” the letter begins, “Your campaign has been completely and utterly based off of hate, from the deportation of millions of Muslims, to the fact that you want to appoint a supreme court justice that will overturn the law ruling same sex marriage legal.”

Not all points driven within the letter are without fact, as his blunt yet informed tone burns through the paper at anyone who reads it.

Jaap said, “A lot of people view being politically involved as something unnecessary and they see it as something redundant, I think this is wrong. If you have a passion, go for it.”

With the controversies of the past 2016 election, it has definitely been a hard topic of debate among students, but Jaap holds strong to his ideals.

Jaap stated, “I affiliate myself with the democratic party because as I have matured I found myself agreeing with a lot of their viewpoints- and as a party I feel like they are a lot more inclusive.”

“I affiliate myself with the democratic party because as I have matured I found myself agreeing with a lot of their viewpoints- and as a party I feel like they are a lot more inclusive.” -Brian Jaap

“People should be able to voice their opinion without personally attacking anyone, and that goes for both sides.” Jaap added.

However, this inclusive mindset has not always been an easy concept for Jaap to handle, rather a learned revelation.

“A huge problem freshman, sophomore and junior year was that as I found myself maturing and getting more involved in politics, I identified so strongly with the democratic party that I would not under any circumstances see the other side- I was super opinionated and super close-minded.” Jaap noted.

A living piece of proof that education and meeting others can overturn a preconceived generalization, Jaap is very aware of how he has evolved as a young Democrat.

“I would think ‘all republicans suck, and all republicans are out to get the black population and the gay population, and they only care about this or that.’ But I have been branching out more socially, meeting a lot of republicans too. They’ve been super accepting and super nice, which has partially contributed to my change of opinion them as a whole.”

Jaap however, may appear like an enlightened political newbie to some, reposting news and spreading the believed ‘typical views’, but to his close teammates of debate and fellow Young Democrat politicians, his knowledge has plunged way deeper.

Junior Adam Johnson, a debate teammate of Jaap said, “His [Jaap’s] political knowledge definitely comes in handy, our last topic had to do with the South China Sea and U.S. involvement, [him] knowing about current foreign policy made that a lot easier, he’s a very good debater and it was a lot of fun being his partner.”

“His [Jaap’s] political knowledge definitely comes in handy, our last topic had to do with the South China Sea and U.S. involvement, [him] knowing about current foreign policy made that a lot easier, he’s a very good debater and it was a lot of fun being his partner.” -Adam Johnson

Not only can Jaap be seen promoting political awareness through his wordy knowledge of policy in debate, but his passion for politics permeates through local politics as well.

“The Young Democrats and I helped out with Alan Kantrud’s campaign, he was running for Minnesota House of Representatives against Kathy Lohmer. We attended fundraisers for him, as well as going door-to-door and phone banking. I also helped with Betty McCollum’s campaign. It is important to be involved locally but also be in touch with the national election.” Jaap stated.

The aspirations to get involved very much so have contributed to Jaap’s plans for the future, as a hopeful double major in political science and clarinet performance, with a hint of hope for veterinary school, Jaap has big plans.

Listening to Jaap speak is one thing, but to witness the flicker of passion he holds for not just political science, but for clarinet performance is another- as his cheeks turn a rosy red at the peak of a smile, Jaap explained, “I feel inspired to run for office, especially with the recent election. My ultimate goals are to either run for state/us house or senate, be a lobbyist, campaign manager, state musician, or even a veterinarian.I want to be in political sciences but I also want to put my passion in music to something, I have options.”

A future potential student of Concordia-Moorhead, Jaap has laid out his options, with a stinging tinge of reality, “I love animals so much, I would literally love to work with them everyday, but then I realize to do that, that would mean dropping one of my other passions- music, or politics, two pieces of me.” Jaap added.

“I feel inspired to run for office, especially with the recent election. My ultimate goals are to either run for state/us house or senate, be a lobbyist, campaign manager, state musician, or even a veterinarian.I want to be in political sciences but I also want to put my passion in music to something, I have options.” -Brian Jaap

One thing is for sure however, Jaap’s passion for his pursuits has not gone unseen by his peers.

Junior Cat Clements, a member of the Young Democrats and close friend of Jaap said, “The most notable thing about Brian is how much he cares about everything he’s passionate about. He could be persuading voters at doors in the morning and touching hearts with his clarinet later in the same day, somehow still finding time to connect with his circle of friends, all rooting for him.”

And passionate Jaap is, from a future politician, to clarinet player, his boldness paired with his tall stature and contagious dimple-forming smile sets him aside from the rest of his peers.

As the letter leaves off on, “Sincerely, a concerned future voter and politician, Brian Jaap,” those who read are hopefully grabbed by the gut as Jaap’s parting words to the president-elect resonate.

“Don’t be afraid to get involved, if something sparks your interest politically, socially, economically, don’t be afraid to get involved. Even if there is just one tiny thing, such as you want to advocate for women’s rights, or a higher minimum wage, no one is saying that you can’t.” -Brian Jaap

Sitting in class, he may just read as another student reading along with the others, but one look around his social media, a few words with his teammates and club members, or a few debates with the man himself, it is surely seen Jaap is nothing short of driven.

As Jaap sits in Tin Bins cafe, his foot rattles with the eagerness that would generally pair with a situation where his reputation is on the line. His friend asks what his message for the youth would be, and as Jaap looks up in thought, coughs, it hits him.

He looks at her directly with his blue eyes.

“Don’t be afraid to get involved, if something sparks your interest politically, socially, economically, don’t be afraid to get involved. Even if there is just one tiny thing, such as you want to advocate for women’s rights, or a higher minimum wage, no one is saying that you can’t,” said Jaap.

 

 

 

 

 

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