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We the People: Students benefit from political clubs

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I walked into Mr. Shaddick’s office feeling like a mix of Sonya Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Hillary Clinton all at once. Like all of my legal and political idols, I had a vision and a plan to make it happen. My goal: bring a political club to SHS.

Why was this so important to me?

Most high school students might know that Brendon Urie is the lead singer of Panic! At the Disco, and Ringo Starr was the drummer for the Beatles. But do you know who our nation’s Speaker of the House is? Probably not. You might not even know what that job is.  Yet, as awesome as both of those bands are, decisions made by the U.S. government have an even larger impact than hit songs like Segt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Death of a Bachelor.

Still not sold on the fact that you should know your Elena Kagans from your Antonin Scalias?  After all, it’s not the people who matter as much as the actions they are taking. And with so many different budget proposals, Bills, and filibusters, it’s admittedly hard to keep track of it all.  But think back to the debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Even students who usually avoid news like the plague followed the election and, while you may not have sided strongly with either candidate, chances are you could have roasted both at the drop of a hat.

The real problem with today’s politics isn’t just ignorance, it’s the huge amount of animosity between parties.  Issues like clean energy and providing jobs have somehow become partisan, with both Democrats and Republicans fighting each other over every little detail.

Of course I understand that there are things parties and individuals shouldn’t compromise, but there does need to be some discussion and sacrifice in order for us to move forward as a country.  Sadly, discussion and respect isn’t going to magically start on the congressional floor. It is up to our generation to start to agree to disagree. Let’s share ideas and opinions, figure out what we disagree about and why we disagree.

Finally, imagine the impact that a combined group of students could do encouraging the student body to take a role in government. There may be a lot of apathy in the world, but people truly care about issues like gun control, abortion, and gay marriage. Whether you agree or disagree with stances for or against these topics, it’s important to understand both sides of such arguments. Bringing attention to these issues, as well as things a bit less controversial (like re-electing school board officials and registering to vote) is the aim of political organizations across the United States and it is time for this school to join the ranks of other schools with an outlet for their politically-minded citizens.

Editor’s note: The Young Citizens club has been approved! Staff advisors and preliminary meeting dates will be announced soon.

 

FURTHER READING:

Young Citizens Club statement of purpose: Our organization aims to stimulate respectful and informed discussion across party lines.

As an organization we aim to become a place where politically active students can learn about other ideas and opinions while shaping and sharing their own. To this end we will host speakers, hold debates, and educate students and teachers about local elections and officials.

Respect and understanding will be the core principals of this group. If members refuse to comply to these expectations, they will be removed from our organization. If at any time the group as a whole becomes a divisive force, we will disband at the discretion of our leadership.

The group would allow students to register as either members of the Young Democrats or Young Republicans organization, but give all members the ability to remain impartial as well. By joining these organizations, students are able to access resources and join a nationwide community. However, our identity is to be a unified organization rather than two polarized units. Individual members may be partisan, but our organization as a whole simply serves to bring together students seeking more awareness of the world we live in.

The club will appoint two joint presidents from opposing political parties. The two students will be responsible for leading meetings, scheduling events, and maintaining order in the group. Other leadership positions will be offered with a goal of including multiple political beliefs and grade levels in the management of the group.

Links to more information:

http://www.urbanagenda.wayne.edu/whatiscl.htm

http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/women-us-congress-2017

http://civicyouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/What-Young-Adults-Know-Fact-Sheet-20131.pdf

http://www.sos.ne.gov/elec/prev_elec/

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We the People: Students benefit from political clubs