Our country is fractured. The legislation is severed, and the differences between a liberal and conservative voter are strikingly polarizing. Some argue that our country cannot function if everyone defends their differing politics like sports teams, advocating for a melodramatic “change” without specification.
Today, teens swing left or right as easily as one could make a directional turn at an intersection. The irony lies in that most of these quick, decisive, stubborn partisans are not even of age to drive.
This is high school. This is a political playground. This is a verbal massacre. And yet, this is revolutionary; the midterm election results of November 2018 have filled the fault between the sides.
The election brought us together in a way that seems almost inadvertent. I write today to present to you this unity: midterms gave rise to both parties and, also, has us reassess the true definition of an achievement. In other words, whether you are black or white, straight or queer, left or right, we must all come together and applaud the minority representation in our House in the face of the historical and political odds stacked against it. This is the poster child of accomplishment, a concept that is, in fact, bipartisan.
Earlier today, a classmate came to me asking why being either a woman or of a certain race and entering Congress was an achievement. He reasoned that he understood why being apart of Congress deserved congratulations, but argued that what these candidates represented and valued was more important than their physical appearance or sexual preference.
This classmate, by saying this, is a true patriot; he stands for the most beneficial set of values, policies and beliefs that a congressperson can embody. He believes in what is best for our country, and that alone.
However, what some students fail to understand is this: policy outweighs race, but the achievement lies the fact that minorities were elected into the House for their policies. Capable people that just so happened to be black, Muslim, LGBTQ or female were elected for what they stood for and that is absolutely remarkable.
My classmate had replied, “So? Being a certain race, sexual orientation or ethnicity still isn’t an achievement.” Alas, this is where we return to high school’s hyper-passionate political rages initiated without probable cause. Upon hearing his response, I was compelled to drive home a truth.
I desire to put forth a principle that can, and should be, recognized by both parties: a bipartisan truth. A truth that is ever so blatant, an axiom that is as objective as politics will ever be in this country.
Regardless of net benefit for either political party, people that more accurately represent our population have been elected to represent their policies this November. These policies are leftist in nature, which instinctively puts the right on edge. But these candidates stand ready at their offices because they were elected for the people, by the people. They are people, and they won because they upheld values and ideas that amassed votes.
Their backgrounds or minority identities are not an achievement, but the fact that they dared to run in the first place with a good idea of what the people wanted is.
I mention something already fervently supported in the media: politics, intrinsically, are stacked against the favor of women, liberal candidates, people who identify as LGBTQ, and minorities. This is why so many citizens have come forward, people of differing political standpoints and unwritten autobiographies, to congratulate these newly confirmed congresspersons.
Rashida Tlaib. Ilhan Omar. Sharice Davids. Deb Haaland. Marsha Blackburn. Jared Polis. Kristi Noem.
And so many more.
It matters not if you agree with what they stand for. I, myself, am unsure if I do. However, these candidates are notable for their skill, courage and ambition. For their policies, the ones that voters evidently supported.
These names ran for office despite the odds. They ran, even though events — both in historical precedent and in this decade — have favored an archetype of a politician that is so, overwhelmingly, not their own. And, most importantly, they are minorities who represent groups that seem more like majorities in this day and age.
We have come far from rebelling under 18th century sentiments: “taxation without representation,” for example. Today, although taxation is always inevitable, we must come together and applaud our confirmed House legislators with minority backgrounds. They represent the wide spectrum of Americans within these 50 states, and they are enabled to do so by their popular beliefs and political prowess.
Our House is liberal, our Senate is conservative. This is a great divide, and as citizens, we pedantically examine every flaw in both sides at the cost of forgetting how to define and recognize achievement.
I am no hero, no walking Oxford Dictionary. I am 15 — too young to vote. And yet, I find it of civic duty to give our nation a hasty reminder of fundamental principles.
This November, there was a blue wave juxtaposed with red victory. Partisanship runs rampant. Our country is following its usual agenda of organized chaos.
But the undeniable, bipartisan truth is, more voices are being represented by legislators who were chosen for their capabilities, defying all odds in the process. And this is a true achievement; it is an agent of change that we, as an electorate, so badly desire.