Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Girls Nation: Day 3

Today marks the 3rd official day of ALA Girls Nation. As we advance in the week, all of the senators are becoming more comfortable with each other, and how the program truly works.

With the familiarity, we as Senators were ready and capable to elect our party nominees for President and Vice President of Girls Nation. All of the candidates went through a very complex and rigorous primary election in both the Federalist and the Nationalist Parties. They delivered passionate speeches and answered difficult political questions (topics for these included the ethics of drones and the effectiveness of the American healthcare system). It’s really incredible to see how much effort all of us are willing to put into this program, and how much we trust this process. When deciding who would represent the respective parties in the general elections, both parties really thought about the decision in order to have the best candidates for tomorrow’s stressful yet exciting day. Not all preparations were made for the purely intellectual parts of tomorrow, however. Campaign committees worked until the last minute to put final touches on the elaborate decorations, polish up the theatrical skits, and solidify the spirited cheers in preparation for the pep rally, Seeing the decorations across the walls of the Ohio room created a buzz of excitement and anticipation for tomorrow’s events.

For the final results, the Federalist nominees are Attiya Latiff and Yujin Seo. On the Nats side, we have Ann-Marie Hagerty and Gillian Mwangi. Both parties feel confident in these four inspiring young women, and cannot wait to see what tomorrow’s general election brings.

After primaries and planning for the rally, all of the Senators moved onto the Senate session of the day. This session was very challenging in a positive way, for the duration of it was 4 hours. All of the Senators were very respectful in their speeches, questions, and debates. It was amazing to see how politically aware our generation is at such an early age, and how much work was put into these bills prior to this week. Because our mock-congress is very productive and successful, many important issues were addressed today. The bills covered a wide range of topics; from the controversial issue of mandatory voting, to the importance of physical education in elementary schools. Our Senators from all over the nation brought interesting problems to think about and discuss while here. Not only is this time in Senate a time for involvement, but it is a time for reflection.These issues at hand are present in bills very similar to what is being discussed in actual congressional sessions right now.

After dinner, all of the Senators had the honor of listening to a holocaust survivor , Nessie Godin, speak of her experience and memories. As a Jew myself, I am familiar with how important it is to pass on the horror stories of these times to future generations so the world learns from their mistakes. Judaism also values tenacity and optimism, which is exactly what our speaker encompassed. By the end of her story, there was not one dry eye in the room, and you could hear a pin drop. Being so privileged in this incredible country, many of us take simple things for granted each day (such as a shower, or even a bed to sleep on). We forget about how much humans have had to endure in difficult times, and it’s important that we don’t. Nessie Godin really opened our eyes to how beautiful life is, even though the people sometimes aren’t.

For our evening activity, the Senators boarded the bus to major sites in DC: The Korean, Vietnam, and Lincoln memorials. The views and sites from each location are jaw-dropping, and it’s interesting to see how each senator interprets the monuments. DC is an incredible place rich with history, and being able to tour it with such a passionate group of girls makes it all the better.

This journey continues on and I continue to learn and grow as a person here. I know that I have personally changed so much in just a few short days, all thanks to the wonderful American Legion Auxiliary. Without these ladies’ passion, wit, and strength, none of this would be possible

Phoebe Wiener

Foggy Bottom

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