On February 18, at Conestoga High School, the Young Democrats and Young Republicans gathered for their annual debate. It took place right after school and was an hour long. Mrs. Kathleen Walter, advisor of the Young Democrats, moderated the debate and approximately 40 students came to spectate.
Each side was given two minutes for opening and closing statements. An additional two minutes was given to ask and answer questions. Immigration, abortion and assault weapons were the key issues on the table.
Each issue was debated by three people from both sides. Each side had contrasting opinions on abortion, immigration and assault weapons, very similar to the political environment today.
Young Democrats strongly supported women’s choice and advocated for restrictions on assault weapons. They made it clear that they respect the Constitution and the Second Amendment and do not advocate for getting rid of all guns, but do believe there is a middle-ground solution. They proposed an option that would ensure the safety of the people and protect the Second Amendment by advocating for stricter restrictions on rifles like the AR-15 which were used in recent mass shootings. The Young Republicans advocated for restrictions on illegal immigration to protect the nation’s resources.
CIVILITY AND BIPARTISANSHIP RULE
As students, the debaters were able to keep it civil and pose their viewpoints without any interference. The biggest takeaway from the debate was that while they were debating each other, there was a sense of bipartisanship from both sides.
While structured as a debate, it was interesting to see the subtle agreements pertaining to these national issues, for example both sides agreed that our immigration system is broken. Recently, youth participation in politics and awareness of national issues has grown significantly. Many students at Conestoga passionately identify themselves as Democrat or Republican.
This annual debate between the Young Democrats and Young Republicans provided a platform to express beliefs that represent politics today. This active participation augurs well for the future of politics because of the voice given to young adults. Young Democrats and Young Republicans prove that the future of politics will not be as divided as today and that national issues needing attention will finally be resolved. It is the hope that this voice will continue to prove that political parties can find common ground and that their beliefs will not stand in the way of representing the voice of the people.
by Deepthi Sathya, Student Member of the Conestoga Young Democrats Club