With the 2020 presidential elections coming up, there is much anticipation and pressure to find a candidate to replace President Trump and set our nation on a new course. Because of this new opening in the White House, many democrats are lining up to compete for the position; more than ever before.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York announced in early January that she would be joining the race to be president. In mid-February it was announced that Gillibrand would be visiting the Ann Richards School during the first visit to Texas in her campaign.
I was excited to see what she would have to say about her career and what advice she could offer as an experienced woman in politics and leadership.
On the 21st of February, grades 8-12 huddled in the cafeteria, uncomfortable, but safe from the bats haunting the big gym. Chatter filled the tight space as she entered alongside a hoard of security, assistants, and photographers. We hesitantly rose from our seats to applaud. Gillibrand took to the stage, commencing her speech. She told us a bit about her younger life and her introduction to politics and quirky anecdotes about her grandmother in upstate New York, where she’s from.
Then, things took a turn. It suddenly seemed that the pretenses Gillibrand was visiting under weren’t quite so accurate. I was told by my teachers and principals that she was here to inspire us and talk about a new book she had released, but what she was saying didn’t sound like that at all. I had realized that she was campaigning to us. I was a bit stunned. You could tell that she is passionate about what she wants to do, but she didn’t fully commit to any of the multiple ideas she talked about, and it was quite a let down for myself and others.
When answering the students’ questions, it seemed that Senator Gillibrand avoided them, and would steer off in a different direction, leaving the questions in the dark, while she talked about legalizing marijuana and healthcare for all. Not that these issues don’t need attention, but she had no major points that she wanted to zone in on. In addition, were we really the appropriate audience? In my opinion, no. There is a significant amount of us that will be able to vote in 2020, but 8th graders, freshmen, and quite a few sophomores will not be able to do so.
The point of our meeting with her was to become absorbed in a woman’s world of politics, not to hear her ramble on about things that we didn’t ask to hear. I was disappointed that the meeting unfolded the way it did, but I was even more surprised that the administration called it out. Rumor has it that a parent complaint was the reason for Principal Kris Waugh apologizing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s true.
All in all, I did not approve Senator Gillibrand’s choice to campaign to us. I feel that it was dull and unsuitable. Any candidate will want to promote themselves to as many people as possible, but this student body wasn’t the right crowd.