You ask Lewisburg High School senior Bobby Current if he is a liberal or a conservative and the answer you get speaks volumes for what the nation’s political climate should be today, instead of the volatile discourse and divide that exists.
The answer from Current is simply one word: “American.”
Current, son of Bobby and Felicia Current and the middle son of three boys, wants to shrink the political divide to let government work better for all Americans. Time as a delegate in the U.S. Senate Youth Program in Washington, D.C. this spring should provide some tools he will need to begin that process.
The program was founded by the U.S. Senate to offer a yearly opportunity for selected students to gain an in-depth view of the Senate and the federal government overall, especially for those considering a future of public service on the local, state or national level.
As one of two Mississippi high school students selected, Current will spend the week of March 7-14 meeting government officials, including Mississippi U.S. Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker. He will be involved in workshops that help develop leadership skills, as well as visits to national monuments and other points of interest in the Nation’s Capital.
Politics has been at the front of Current’s mind for some time.
“Since I was little, I’ve always wanted to be involved in politics and my goal has always been the Presidency,” Current said. “I saw something about the U.S. Senate Youth Program online and this was something that I would be interested in.”
Current added that his election to the school’s student council this year for the first time was a bonus, since holding an office such as this was a requirement to be considered.
The schedule for the week in Washington will include hearing from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Current said the group will be able to see the Senate at work from the gallery and they may also have the chance to be on the Senate floor.
“There is a packed schedule for the week and they have a little bit of everything,” Current said about the agenda he will take part in.
Last spring, Current was a member of the Mississippi American Legion’s Boys State, another leadership program for rising high school seniors. Current ran for, and was elected, as its Governor, running as an independent at the function held on the University of Mississippi campus.
“I realized that in the 80 years of the program in Mississippi, I am the third independent governor elected,” Current said.
The upcoming trip is also not the first time Current has been in Washington, having been a part of a youth leadership program with Northcentral Electric Power Association and other cooperatives.
Reducing the political divide is important to Current for the nation’s future.
“I don’t want to be too subjective with certain things, although there are some things that in politics you have to stand on,” Current said. “I do have my issues, such as education, but for the most part I want to learn more about how to bring people together over the issues and find a compromise.”
The current polarized political climate in the United States is “crazy,” as Current described it.
“This country works best when we are united,” Current said. “Historically we’ve been united in wartime, such as in World War II. I’d rather we be a country united, not in war and hatred against other countries, but be united in the common idea of what we can be and what we should be.”
As part of a successful school program at Lewisburg High School, one of the best in the state, Current sees that educational success as a model for the nation. That would be part of his agenda should he become President Bobby Current.
“It may be impossible, but it’s one thing I’d want to do in eight years, and that is to make education better to the point where this school (Lewisburg) is now,” Current said. “I want every school to be at this level by the end of my two terms. If the worst school in the country can get to this level, than the best school will be phenomenal.”
Which brings us back to the question, are you a liberal or a conservative?
“American,” Current replies.
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.