You do not have to be interested in politics to be an active citizen
Opinion of Joyce Lin
If someone had told freshman me that I would eventually have an interest in debating foreign aid, I would have been highly doubtful. I’ve never been one to blatantly state my political alignment or have intense screaming matches over tax reform. But, over the course of my high school career, I have come to realize the importance of participating in the discussion of the world is extremely urgent.
It is safe to say that in the past, for many high school students, politics was not an intriguing interest; it is dinner table talk between grownups.
However, over the course of the 2016 Presidential Elections, the campaigns sparked heated debates on social media. I scrolled through countless lengthy rants about different candidates. Even though so many people my age were voicing their thoughts, many of those opinions were based on emotional appeal.
Everyone wants to give their opinion on something, but not everyone roots their opinions in facts and research.
Going to Washington D.C. with the Contemporary Issues class and participating as mock Senators and Representatives at Princeton Model Congress was a representation of how anyone could contribute to the talk about the actions of our government.
Model Congress is a simulation of the United States Congress, with a variety of committees, the Supreme Court, and even the President’s Cabinet. There are strictly-structured debates, campaigns, just like the real government.
There were delegates who were hardcore and had full opposition speeches prepared prior to the conference and there were those who were purely there to be a part of the conference. What united everyone was an opportunity to learn and participate in discussing legislation that each individual thought could benefit the United States.
Bills passed and failed, but more importantly, debate sparked awareness of issues that had not been given much spotlight. There was debate over giving felons the right to vote, federal endorsement of euthanasia, legalization of marijuana, and more.
It was platform for anyone to spark change. That sounds naive, I know, but it is true. Many believe that politics should be kept out of the classroom, but Model Congress brings classroom to politics.
I would disagree with the saying that there is a place for politics. The domestic and international affairs of the present day will have an impact on us in the future.
As a country, we need to continue placing an importance in recognizing and talking about the problems that we face, not putting them on the back burner.
We have to take action from early on, and not let issues, such as discrimination or sexual harassment pile up and become normalized.
It does not matter if you categorize yourself a liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independant, somewhere in the middle, or have no political association.
What matters is that we are all Americans.
We are lucky to be part of a country where we have rights to openly discuss what we want to. If you are passionate about a certain issue or policy, pursue that passion. There is a high chance that there are others who have share your view.