Politics and the State of the Students

An Op-Ed by Leora Soibelman '21 published in the Shevuon Hatichon student newspaper.

The word "politics" produces an eye-roll every time I say it. 
That reaction reveals a larger problem in our society: people are wary of government. An institution that is meant to help us and represent our beliefs has become the thing that Americans want to talk least about. And that attitude adds to the cycle that got it there: if people don’t believe in government, it stops working.

One step at a time, I’m trying to change that.
This past summer, with friends I made from my internship at Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office, I founded an organization called State of the Students. State of the Students bridges the gap between elected officials and their younger constituents, putting a face to government and helping students feel more comfortable with it as a whole.

Earlier this month, State of the Students tested our model. For an hour at Wellesley High School, students engaged with a panel of various government officials. On this panel were Congressman Joe Kennedy, Representative Alice Peisch, Senator Becca Rausch, Assistant Attorney General Mary Strother, and Regional Director at Senator Warren’s office, Darien Johnson. The discussion was entirely student-driven and topics ranged from education inequality to plastic water bottles to socialism.

In the process of planning this event and growing State of the Students, I’ve learned so much about government. For example, you can order American flags from your congressman or senator--who knew? However, possibly the most meaningful thing I’ve learned is how accessible our government really is. Somehow, my friends and I managed to pull together five panelists, all from sending a few emails.

Your government is here to help. And it should feel that way.
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