Thornton Students Get Political

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Seniors Sam Lambert, Tasha Dube, David Bouffard attended a democratic Caucus for the first time, to support their favorite candidate, Bernie Sanders. While they felt really lucky to attend the caucus, they were surprised by the chaos and the amount of time it took, and worried that busier community members may not have been able to attend.

“I was surprised to see how few people actually wanted to do this. I was one of the ones allowed to go, and by the end of it, I had to drive straight to work, I feel like it’s unfair to people who don’t have Sundays off, and I just happened to be lucky I had a night shift at my job that I was allowed to go,” said Lambert

Every four years, Americans engage in the world of presidential politics. They stand outside public meeting places and wait for sometimes hours to check off a few boxes on a slip of paper. This little slip can mean the difference for a whole nation.

According to an analysis from the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, about 22 million to 23 million under the age of 30 voted in the 2012 election, which is approximately 49 percent who voted. Turns out young voters made up a larger percentage of the total electorate (19%) this year than in 2008 (18%).

Now with the 2016 race, more and more T.A. students, especially seniors turning 18 are talking about and getting involved with the voting process.  

Senior Sam Lambert believes that voting is vital for the future of this country, “I already voted in the caucus, I even got elected to be a delegate, and I’m definitely voting for the president. I plan on voting every chance I get, I mean women fought for the right to vote, I’m not going to just give up that right. I also believe everyone should vote, some people in other countries can’t, and you should have a say in your country.”

The Political Action Team here at T.A. is a great way to get students involved in the political world around them. Mr. Kolmar, advisor of the Political Action said, “Essentially, I just facilitate discussions and help to choose topics for discussion at our meetings. I am really just a bystander while students explore various topics within politics.”

Mr. Kolmar originally became involved in politics when he was a freshman in college and as a teacher he been encouraging students to also get involved, and getting them interested in politic., Kolmar said, “As a teacher, my job is to present information without bias so students can form their own opinions. However, this election cycle has presented teachers with a conflict. It’s also our duty as educators to teach students that hate, oppression, discrimination, and spitefulness are all things that have marred our history in the past. We try to teach students compassion, empathy, and respect. I think it’s our duty to highlight instances in which certain candidates for president fail to adhere to the tenets of basic human decency. Aside from those moments, I strive to maintain political neutrality at all times, at least in my capacity as a teacher.”

Mr. Kolmar isn’t the only one trying to get students involved in politics. Government teacher, Nathan McKenney is also trying to encourage students to get involved, and in a recent interview with Carpe Diem, he revealed how he became interested in politics. “My interest in politics started in high school in an unusual way. The music I was listening to at the time was heavily influenced by history and politics, and lyrically made reference to topics I was not familiar with. Out of curiosity, I found myself researching the ideas of artists so I would know what they were singing about. In addition to this, I finished high school just before the events of 9/11. This gave me the opportunity to see what life was like before and after this event, and how so much of our lives have been changed as a result of that day.”

The student  leader of the Political Action Team sophomore Ethan Richards, became interested in politics at the beginning of his high school career.

“I like politics because it has to do with people and their opinions. I don’t know why other people are involved but my love for it comes from my love of people,” said Richards.

Richards believes that the Political Action Team is a vital club for students to get students  involved in the world of politics.

“The purpose of the political action team is to lead a generation that will be the best voters America has seen. By that I mean they will understand the issues being talked about in our government knowing how to contact their representatives and a being an American public that can’t be fooled by a Handsome Candidate with vague promises,” said Richards.

At the start of the race there were 25 Presidential candidates, by the time the first major debates took place there were 24. At the end of December 2015 there were 17 candidates left. As of the end of March, 2016 draws near, there are only seven candidates,  two Democrats, three Republican, and two independent remaining. According to Ballotpedia.org, there were a total of 1,647 candidates who had filed a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. With now a few candidates remaining, many senior students who will have the chance to vote for the first time are starting to make the final decisions on who they want for president.

“Throughout the United States there has been a growing divide between the liberal left and conservative right. In this election cycle, we have two candidates who are speaking to the fringes of both of those voting bases. In doing so, this has attracted many new voters and has allowed for political momentum to be achieved by candidates who, historically, would not have had much success,” McKenny said.

Whether you’re a liberal left or conservative right, this race has been more controversial than races in the past, and it’s easy to see with interest arise with students.

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One Response to Thornton Students Get Political

  1. Caleb Bailey May 19, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    This was very interesting, I’d love to see an unbiased, educational piece on the current presidential situation and the controversial political system in place.

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