Local students report from annual political convention

| August 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

Some of the biggest names in politics descended on the Pasadena Convention Center July 29-30 for the third annual Politicon, a non-partisan event that brings together politicians, pundits and media personalities.

Two local students who attended the conference give their perspectives on what it was like to watch people of all political stripes come together to debate today’s most topical issues.

STUDENTS Sofia Goitiandia, 15, and Kiyomi Genewick, 14, watch the “Facts Still Matter” panel discussion.

Political junkies gather

By Sofia Goitiandia

U.S. politics has become the most popular reality show, and Politicon was the season recap. The convention attracted people of different political beliefs, watching, and sometimes participating, while the state of politics was dissected, discussed and debated by political junkies.

As a kid newly interested in politics, I found Politicon to be extremely entertaining. When pundit Ann Coulter was introduced to the conference, two people walked in wearing Nazi-esque uniforms yelling “Hail Trump.” Soon after, two different people held up a banner that read, “Trump and Pence must go,” while yelling the same mantra. The next day, political commentators Cenk Uygur and Ben Shapiro debated many issues facing the U.S., including health care, tax breaks and… Trump. The debate was interrupted several times, primarily by Trump supporters, who yelled and booed. When the left-leaners heckled, Uygur would try to calm things, whereas Shapiro would encourage the bad behaviors of the “alt-right” supporters. Sadly, it was rare to complete a session without rants of “USA, USA, USA” or “Trump, Trump, Trump.”  I guess it’s expected when politics have become so polarizing and hateful.

Politicon was an amazing experience, and I recommend it to any political junkie. I didn’t agree with everyone, but it was interesting to hear their points of view, even at high volume. From composed debates to yelling matches, Politicon represented the state of U.S. politics in the era of Trump: a political climate of rage, hate, and controversy.

Lack of respect, kindness

By Kiyomi Genewick

At Politicon, I spent two days attending panels, visiting booths and observing people. Not only did I learn a lot about today’s hot political topics, but I got to witness how people discuss and debate these issues.

Early in the conference, I was impressed to see guests with different opinions discuss the topic of LGBTQ+ in the 21st Century. The panel showcased how people with opposing views or different experiences can discuss topics without verbally attacking each other. I believe that because they listened to one another, each participant moved forward with new ideas that may impact his or her future choices because of the discussion. Unfortunately, most panels were not as respectful.

I sat through many panels featuring political “personalities” who make a living voicing their opinions.  These personalities were only there to share their messages, and they clearly didn’t want to hear from anyone else. Instead, insults were exchanged, nothing productive was discussed and no new ideas were presented. It was during these panels where the chant “USA” was used to disrupt and divide the audience.  It made me uncomfortable to hear the angry, not patriotic, chanting.

I’m glad I got to attend Politicon, where I witnessed the good, bad and ugly. At the end of the weekend, it was clear to me that the lessons I’ve learned at home and school have been forgotten in the world of politics: to listen, to be kind, and to respect others and embrace our differences.

Kiyomi Genewick, 14, and Sofia Goitiandia, 15, are both incoming freshmen this year at Marymount High School.  

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Category: People

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