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Meet the Candidates Forum 2018

A high school student’s perspective on the importance of compromise
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“We are a polarized society with little ability to listen to those with differing ideas, backgrounds, and experiences. The turmoil created by this divide has stalled our progression into new ideas … We need to learn how to listen.”

That was my response to a college application question regarding a major problem in our world today. I am Alex Schwartz, a senior at North Tahoe High School who was born five months too late — just out of range to vote this November.

We are living in one of the most politically stressful times in history, divided down the middle like an even polynomial. Friendships have been terminated and families broken apart, yet the two sides are often a reflection of one another: “I’m right, you’re wrong.” How can the universe possibly allow two sides to be both right AND wrong? Whatever happened to compromise?

Like most preteens, I did not pay much attention to current events or social studies in middle school. I thought it was all rhetoric and “gray area.” I wanted it to be black or white — right or wrong. I realize now that government is one of the few systems that everyone on the planet shares, and that the “gray area” is necessary for compromise. I believe that here in America we have the incredible opportunity to make a difference in our government. We can vote.

I am not 18 and therefore I cannot vote on Nov. 6. But this detail is not stopping me from getting involved. When my principal came into our leadership class and asked who would like to volunteer for the Meet the Candidates Forum, I eagerly agreed.

On Oct. 8, I, along with three of my peers helped facilitate the North Lake Tahoe Meet the Candidates Forum in my high school’s auditorium. The candidates are running for Tahoe City Public Utility District, North Tahoe Public Utility District, Truckee Tahoe Airport District, and North Tahoe Fire Protection District in the November election. I was given the responsibility of asking the candidates questions offered by the public regarding local issues.

This was the first time I had witnessed a candidate’s campaign firsthand, and it was eye-opening. We, the people of North Lake Tahoe, get to elect officials for real-life important matters. How cool is that? I also came to the realization that anyone can run for public office. There is a civil engineer running for the public utility district, a fire chief running for the fire district, and a pilot running for the airport board. Being elected as senator or president seems far-fetched but being elected for a local office seems tangible. I walked away with a clearer vision of how our representatives actually become elected and I can envision myself one day running for office at a local level.

This Meet the Candidates Forum has inspired me to continue to volunteer and be involved in my local politics. I look forward to voting in the coming years and am thankful for this glimpse into American politics.

~ Alex Schwartz is a senior at North Tahoe High School. She values academics and loves participating in many extracurricular activities. She is a company member of the Lake Tahoe Dance Collective, captain of the North Tahoe Cheer Squad, president of the Tech Club, and leader in the Athlete Committed Club, Newspaper Club, and Speech and Debate Club. Alex is planning on attending a four-year university next fall majoring in chemistry.

 
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The Opinion Page is your place to spout off. This section contains letters to the editor and longer My Shot pieces. Also, the Spout features two bimonthly perspectives — In the Past, delving into Tahoe Truckee history, and In the Moment, an artistic musing of a moment today.

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November 8, 2018