On the 2020 Presidential Election

By Erika Choi and Taylor Jones

Students in Henry and Eden’s Q1 Afternoon Mod “The Presidential Election” reflected on their experience.

Erika Choi writes:

“As an international student, I haven’t had the opportunity to learn about American politics.  Also, I had no interest, and didn’t know why I needed to know about politics. I had heard of some political words when I took a civics class in middle school. I worried that the presidential election was coming,  and I still didn’t know how presidential elections worked. However, this year, I am so thankful that the school provided the presidential election class. We talked about the United States presidential election system and the Constitution. We also learned the history of the presidency in the U.S., and about the presidential candidates and each of their parties. 

Before school started, I didn’t have any basic information about U.S. politics. After the first day of class, I was so confused about what to write for the reflection of the class because I did not understand what we learned. At first, I did not like the reflection that we needed to do after each class. I had to answer questions about what we’d talked about, list one thing that I learned that day, and ask questions. Yet, this reflection made me get into the class. Taking notes during class helped me understand a lot. Although I figured out some of my questions by taking notes during class, there were still some parts that I did not get. Satisfyingly, the reflection assignment relieved my confusion and helped answer any questions that remained after class. 

As a whole, I think I made a perfect choice to take this class because I learned a lot about U.S. politics. After I took this class, I understood what the news was talking about. If I were not taking this class, I wouldn’t understand what’s going on in the world. I am so grateful for the school and teachers that provided this class this year.”

Taylor Jones writes:

“During this year, I was fortunate enough to be enrolled in a class titled, “The Presidential Election.” Ever since 2016, I have been enthralled by politics, the presidency, and all of the elected government’s inner-workings. Last election, I took a civics class that centered largely around the transition of leadership, so I thought it only fitting to continue the ‘tradition’ and find a school-based way to focus in on this presidential race. This election is especially significant for me because it is the first in which I can vote. In early March 2020, I got to experience voting for the very first time. I took my driver’s permit in one hand and my mother’s hand in the other as I walked into the quaint elementary school that housed the primary ballots. I checked a name and slipped my ballot into the box. All of a sudden, I felt the rush of political activism fill my system. I had no idea just how impactful this election would become. 

About a week or two later, I sat in my house and googled, “When was the last global pandemic?” and, “How do we handle coronavirus?” I wished that President Trump would figure out a game plan, as confusion and apprehension flooded my mind. Admittedly, I didn’t have much faith in 45, and I’ve never liked him; however, I tried to remain optimistic. After I saw Trump fail to save the first 50,000 US residents, I realized just how imperative voting in November would be. This pandemic has been horrendous, and all the worst of it has been exacerbated by the lack of stable, sensible leadership. No matter what I believed before, watching our country fall into chaos pushed me to take this seriously. 

Not too long after, tragedy struck again. Ahmaud Arbery was hunted down; Breonna Taylor was murdered in her sleep; George Floyd was choked to death. I was left crying, asking how someone could be so cruel. To sit on a man’s neck for 8min and 46 seconds, to end a sleeping woman’s life, to kill a jogger for jogging- I couldn’t comprehend it. Feeling heartbroken, frustrated, confused, tired, hurt, pissed, helpless was maddening, and the most painful part was realizing these people’s skin tones matched my family’s; the butchered, who bore a striking resemblance to my cousins, uncles, aunts, and family friends, were all members of my racial community.

That was the last straw for me, and this election became my last hope. In 2020, I’ve learned that voting is one of the most important duties of a citizen. When the NSNVA 2020-2021 course catalog was released, and I saw the class being offered, I jumped at the opportunity to understand the presidential election. After all, if I have to put my hope, and my vote into someone, I want to know what I’m doing.

For Ahmaud, Breonna, George, and countless others. Rest in power.”

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