JSA hosts democrats v. conservatives debate
September 15, 2016
“The reason I wanted to have this debate is because [I want] people to understand different viewpoints. I want people to hear both [sides], and figure out what they want to support.”
Solon High School senior Jesutomi Odukoya is a two-year member and starting his senior year as president of the Young Conservative club at SHS. Odukoya was one of the speakers at the debate hosted by Junior State of America (JSA), which occurred on Sept. 9 and featured SHS’ Young Democrats and Young Conservatives.
The Young Democrats are a new addition to SHS this year and were started by current club president and SHS senior Nick Sattele. Sattele said he became more involved with politics over the summer and wanted to revive the Young Democrats club, which had died out after the 2012 election. He also wanted to create an outlet for liberal students at SHS.
“As a liberal-minded student, I wanted to make sure that we [democrats] could have meetings ourselves and give [liberals] opportunities that the conservatives had here at SHS,” Sattele explained.
JSA decided to host a debate to give these clubs the opportunity to express their opinions in front of an audience. Taleen Avitsian, Rishi Narahari and Shivani Kaw, three of the four officers in JSA, worked to plan and put the debate together on time.
“My co-presidents and I wrote a list of topics and questions pertaining to those topics,” junior Avitsian said. “We contacted the Young [Democrats] and Young Conservatives, meeting with them and having them pick their top debaters. [They then displayed] the views of the party accordingly and [answered] the questions.”
Topics discussed during the debate included gun control, climate change, the Affordable Care Act, minimum wage and tax cuts. The democrats argued that the affordable care act was a benefit for big business while the conservatives argued it was a detriment. Both clubs presented their opinions on each question, and then spoke again with their rebuttal of the other side’s argument.
The turnout for the debate was deemed a success by both sides after student spectators filled the majority of the lecture hall.
“I thought there was going to be a little less [people], but so many people were talking about [the debate],” Odukoya said. “[Lots of people] showed up and I was pleasantly surprised.”
Such a large audience caused several of the speakers to feel nervous. Sattele stated that he was feeling nervous beforehand, especially since The Young Democrats were newly revived, and he wanted everything to go smoothly. In the end, he felt they had a very effective debate.
“[Even though] a microphone broke, we overcame it. We had a lot of fun, and overall had a healthy debate,” Sattele said.
The Young Democrats will be working with the Hillary Clinton Campaign and registering voters at SHS.
The Young Conservatives will hold multiple meetings throughout the year to discuss topics such as war and the political candidates. They will also host several events including one raising money for the wounded warriors later in the year.
In addition to all of the events these clubs are hosting, they plan to have another debate with each other in the near future.
“Debates like this are extremely important for several reasons,” Avitsian says. “They really educate people further on politics and the issues our country faces. Those who are ignorant are easily manipulated, especially the younger population. While we’re young, debates like this are just a small step in the right direction, leading us towards political understanding. With two extremely interesting candidates presented and the media taking advantage of this, it’s important to know what each party really stands for to vote effectively and educate ourselves even just a little to not be manipulated by politicians.”