Instead of being inundated with news about the two major U.S. presidential candidates, Crossroads students on Thursday morning broadened their horizons during an assembly featuring panelists who espoused a wide variety of political perspectives.
Organizers were hoping to introduce students to viewpoints they don’t usually hear, according to co-coordinator Dante Vaisbort ’18, and the guest panel exemplified that goal. The dais featured a Socialist Party USA presidential candidate, a Libertarian candidate for State Assembly, a Green Party activist and a Jainist as well as a liberal.
Students asked the panelists—Dave Rubin, Baron Bruno, Mimi Soltysik, Michael Feinstein and Amar Salgia—to address a wide range of issues, from their personal motives and voting preferences to the role of government and the flaws of the U.S. electoral system.
The assembly was held less than two weeks before the 2016 presidential election, the lead-up to which has featured heated back-and-forth between supporters of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump.
“Youth are not known for turning out,” said Upper School history teacher Tom Laichas, who welcomed students to the assembly on the basketball court. “But that’s not true for the people in this space—you’re going to be voting.”
Laichas, who has voted in 11 presidential elections, explained that citizens must take into account their values and personal interests as well as national issues when choosing a president.
“This is not simply a political burden,” he said. “It is a moral burden.”
Crossroads sophomores Blaise Gordon ’19 and Lucy Thomas ’19 said they enjoyed the assembly, approaching the dais afterward to chat with the panel of guests.