• on February 19, 2020

Introducing Chann & Christian, SUR Interns

Stand Up Republic loves hosting interns from across the country who are interested in working to strengthen American democracy. Meet our current crop of enthusiastic and talented interns, Chann and Christian:

Chann Cortes

Chann Cortes

My name is Chann Cortes. Like most people, I spent my childhood caring very little about politics. After all, what kind of fool would want to dedicate their life to being one of those angry old people who always yell at each other on TV? When I was younger, it hardly seemed like the kind of thing anyone should do willingly, far less as a career. Of course, this would all change as I got older.

As an immigrant, I have always had a habit of understanding global events in far more detail than some of my counterparts. This meant that in the 2010s, I was in for a rude awakening. The liberal world order, which defined how the nations of the world have interacted since the end of the Cold War, basically blew up. Hungary has proudly declared itself an “illiberal democracy,” ignoring concepts such as free speech in favor of governmental control. The United Kingdom, by a very slim margin, voted to leave the European Union, believing that the nation was somehow better off alone in this increasingly globalized planet. Democracies all over the world, from India to Brazil, elected nationalists who care more about strongman politics and xenophobia over the liberty and democracy that has allowed the entire globe to prosper.

Sadly, even the United States, my home and the leader of the free world, has begun to retract from the international community. Instead of fighting for peace and democracy all over the world, the United States has instead fallen into domestic turmoil. The partisan divide has reached levels not seen in decades. We hardly ever even seem to agree on the same facts, anymore. What has happened to that “City on a Hill” that Americans used to proudly call itself? When did we become more focused on villainizing “the other” instead of being the role model that other democratic states looked at for guidance?

The two-party system has failed us. Democratic and Republican partisans are so wrapped up in hating one another that they are no longer able to pass legislation on issues that affect everyone, such as infrastructure, education or managing our debt. Both parties have participated in actions such as gerrymandering and spreading disinformation that have harmed our democracy, not helped it. For years, the United States has been something to look up to. Other countries aspired to have the same freedoms and representation as our nation. We cannot throw it all away on petty politics, especially now, when the world has seen a rise in authoritarian alternatives that go against all of our values.

Today, the United States faces a lot of opponents on the global stage. However, it can not face them if it can’t stop seeing itself as “the other.” I am interning at Stand Up Republic because I believe that country matters more than party. The partisanship in our country is hurting us both internationally and domestically. It’s time that we do something about it.

Christian Omoruyi

Christian Omoruyi

Greetings to all of our readers! My name is Christian Omoruyi and I am a freshman at American University in Washington, D.C., where I am a Global Scholar in the School of International Service. I am a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, but am peripatetic and have additionally lived in California, Minnesota, and Indiana. In addition to being an itinerant, I am a bibliophile, gastronome, and globetrotter. 

I began to get involved in Stand Up Republic back in Indiana during high school. At a time in our nation’s history where we seem to be approaching a precipice, I was drawn to Stand Up Republic’s commitment to fight for accountable government, electoral reform, healthy media, and a pluralistic society. As a leader in Stand Up Republic’s Indiana chapter, I helped with communications, coalition-building, and citizen lobbying efforts and have advocated for election security measures and nonpartisan redistricting reform. I additionally attended Stand Up Republic’s annual Hill Days in September 2019 and met with members of Indiana’s congressional delegation to discuss election security legislation.

I have always been passionate about international affairs. I held previous roles interning at the Hudson Institute, where I contributed to research projects related to European and transatlantic issues, and at Cummins, where I analyzed the impact of tariffs on corporate sales amid trade disputes between the United States, European Union, and China. I have been fortunate to forge relationships with many elected officials and have interacted with prominent thought leaders and public servants from across the political spectrum, including former Vice President Joe Biden, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. 

As the third impeachment trial in American history progresses and Democrats formally begin the process of choosing a nominee, I could not be more excited to be interning for Stand Up Republic. I have been unsettled by the proliferation of laws passed in state legislatures across the country that seek to restrict the franchise among historically underrepresented communities and by the practice of gerrymandering that essentially gives politicians carte blanche to choose their own voters rather than the other way around. Despite grim developments for representative democracy in America, I am undaunted and am looking forward to supporting Stand Up Republic’s electoral reform agenda. We are in a battle for the soul of America, and we must redouble our commitment to democracy to ensure that, to echo President Lincoln generations ago, our government of, by, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.

If you are a college-aged student interested in interning in a dynamic pro-democracy organization, send us your resume and a cover letter to be considered for an internship in our DC headquarters. [email protected]

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