Op-Ed response: California teen weighs in

What about the importance of high school students in America?

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Student Senate photo

Two weeks ago, I did an Op-Ed article about the weight of votes and how we can avoid the radicality of politics in general. With most, if not all, of our stories published on our website uwpexponent.com, the general public can type in the Google search bar “politics.” Somehow the article I wrote reached a student in San Jose, California. Her name is Gabriella Olavarria, class of 2021 from Notre Dame High School.

Her response:
Hello Mr. Snyder,
As a high school student, I think that we often feel frustrated that we cannot vote. However, unlike what your article talked about, I often feel that my friends and I enjoy talking about politics, which might be because what we say does not have an influence over anything at this point in our life.
In just a year, I will be able to vote and think that many teenagers need to take into consideration what you said. With a political climate that is so hostile, I think that everyone, especially adults who might be stuck in their ways need “not identify as left or right, Democrat or Republican; let’s identify the candidate that aligns with our beliefs.” Seeing the results of the primaries will be very interesting.
Will people be following and practicing what you preach? Or will the influences of media be taking ahold of Democratic voters around the country?
Thanks for hearing my opinion on this matter.

My response:
Hello Ms. Olavarria,
Thank you for your response to my Op-Ed from two weeks ago. I am glad to see that not only are the University of Wisconsin-Platteville students seeing my article, but citizens like you are as well! It is great to see that your friends and yourself are engaging in civil conversation about what is happening at all levels in the political atmosphere. I will admit, I did not even remember to include ALL people.
I remember when I was in high school knocking on people’s doors in my community trying to speak to them one-on-one about certain candidates during the upcoming 2016 General Election. I knew most of the people in my community as a volunteer and a leader within my high school so most of our community members recognized me. It is so important when you start a conversation with anyone you figure out how to connect with them somehow.
Whether it is similar hobbies to yourself or their family members, it is important that you show the gratitude of their personality; then they will not feel as hostile if they do not believe in a certain topic that you actually believe in. Did I mention that I was 16 leading up to that Primary, Nomination, and General Election? I think the most important part to realize is that students in their high school years tend to pick up more speed with their political activity. College is their only way to further strengthen their belief by challenging it. To reference back to your questions, I would like if people paid closer attention to this part of the media rather than state propaganda news outlets.
I have taken the time out of my academics to further provide the research and non-biased view on a certain area that could hopefully connect people in some way. I do not exactly want people to strictly follow and practice what I relay to them; however, I would like them to realize that there are people out there who want to give them the necessary perspective of not only a political analyst/editorial reporter, but a student at heart who cares about his community.
If the world was to exactly follow what I say, would or could our government strengthen programs in the future? I am not necessarily saying get rid of the two-party system and switch to non-partisan (even though I have said that in the past). We need to strengthen the research we do on each individual candidate that wants to run for office. I have seen my Republican representative vote on things that are more left-leaning. I have seen my Democratic representative vote on things more right-leaning. This is the importance of bipartisanship: to come to agreement of the American people.
If it was a one way only, I think this government would turn into a Totalitarian/Authoritarian government, probably causing anarchists and nihilists to disrupt that government in some way, shape or form.