Political apathy is the thing tearing this country apart. As more and more young people fail to vote, the result is that a large percentage of the population remains unrepresented. The people that do vote end up choosing our leaders in the Congress, Presidency, and State, but if all the people that didn’t went out and voted, the results of any election could be very different. So, whenever I see people showing any sort of political involvement, I get excited. While it might just be that I wasn’t among people of voting age during my previous years at Memorial, now that we’re in an election year (or rather, Primary Season), political interest and debate has sprung up around the school. However, it has gone beyond that now as one candidate has taken hold of our school: Bernie Sanders.
Sanders is a recently-turned Democrat (formerly Green Party member) candidate who considers himself a Democratic Socialist, with decades of experience on the state and federal level. He’s from Vermont via Brooklyn, although after hearing his accent you wouldn’t need me to tell you that. His campaign is centered around, as he puts it in his YouTube ads, what’s called a “rigged economy”, especially the class system where one percent of the population earns a disproportionate amount of wealth. His plans focus around redistributing the wealth via taxes and public services, including free state colleges.
Sanders’ appeal to young audiences is easy to understand. Many young people are fed up with the status quo, frustrated with the inequality of the world, and daunted by the prospect of taking tens of thousands of dollars in loans to attend college. Sanders’ policies play right into that middle class frustration.
So is it any surprise that Sanders is essentially the favored candidate of Memorial students? I see countless Bernie shirts, pins, and hats among MMHS Juniors and Seniors, and everyone’s saying that they “Feel the Bern”, praising his policies and denouncing his enemies. The only other candidate, it seems, to come close to Sanders in terms of quantity of discussion, is Trump, whose controversial all-in-the-open style begs discussion. Yet most people I have talked to support Bernie Sanders unironically, fully, and wholeheartedly, with Bernie rallies being huge talking points between students. His policies are a hit with the students and the teachers, who seem to like Sanders for his educational policies.
While you, like me, can disagree with Bernie’s policies and style, it’s hard to deny his appeal: A straightforward, down-to-earth candidate who echoes the rage of the middle class with his loud speeches and anger towards the top one percent. Plus, he’s going to help soothe the anxieties about college that almost all high-school kids have. So, Memorial, are you feeling the Bern?