On January 16, GOP candidate Jon Huntsman dropped out of the running for the presidency - and I have to say that I was pretty upset. Huntsman was my guy, my moderate conservative.
As an American citizen who is able to vote next November, I have been trying to keep from aligning myself so exclusively with one party. It is my duty as a citizen to vote intelligently, and not vote for Obama just because I decided I was a Democrat when I was in eighth grade. Now Huntsman is gone, and I am shaking my head at who is left.
Let’s start with Newt Gingrich, who won the South Carolina Primary on January 21. Newt wrote a book, Rediscovering God in America, all about how our Founding Fathers created a Christian nation, and America needs to return to its religious heritage. I haven’t read the book, but from the summary on Amazon, I think I wouldn’t like it, being that America was founded on the principles of religious freedom, and Thomas Jefferson’s separation of church and state, something I learned in seventh grade social studies. Also, for someone so dedicated to the Christian religion, Newt seems to have trouble following the seventh commandment (“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”) Gingrich has had two affairs and three wives over the years. I have a little bit of a problem electing a president who preaches one thing, but does another.
The entire world heard when Mitt Romney said he “likes to fire people.” It’s even available as a ringtone. Romney has painted a picture of himself as the exceptionally wealthy politician he is. What really matters to me, however, is the $374,000 Romney makes in speaking fees, which he has said is “not very much.” Not much? $374,000 is more money than most Americans make in a year. Romney is out of touch with the American people.
Feminists, pro-choice supporters, and the gay community have criticized Rick Santorum for his traditional, conservative views. One particular view that concerns me is Santorum’s opinion on global warming: he doesn’t believe it exists. He does not believe that the human race has affected our climate. He believes it is “patently absurd.” Due to this view, Santorum supports controversial issues such as offshore drilling and the Keystone XL pipeline. For Santorum, the pros (money) outweigh the cons (environmental damage) with regard to issues that concern our planet. We may be in a recession, and the economy may be one of the top priorities for the white house, but should it hold precedence over the state and well being of the earth and its inhabitants?
Ron Paul. Ron Paul doesn’t believe in the theory of evolution. Now, let’s be logical about this: a theory, in science, is a proven hypothesis. Once a hypothesis becomes a theory, after many experiments and observations, it is no longer hypothetical. It is regarded in the scientific community, and basically all over the world, to be true. “You know [evolution] is a theory, nobody has concrete proof of any of this,” explains Ron Paul. You would think that Ron Paul would know that by ‘theory’, it means that there is proof, from his many years in the medical field. I don’t want a President who doesn’t understand basic scientific principles and disputes scientific theories.
No matter how hard I try to have an open mind, I cannot really like any of the Republican candidates. In my mind, they are just a group of crotchety old men, trying in vain to connect to the largely moderate, unemployed American nation.
Rumors have been circulating around Upper Merion that there will not be any superlatives in our yearbook this year, possibly due to the momentous effort it takes to culminate said superlatives. When I spoke to yearbook co-editor Courtney Smith, she was able to confirm that “there will be changes this year.” She was unable to elaborate on precisely what changes are being made.
Senior year is marked by a number of traditions: Senioritis, Senior Prom, ruling Homecoming Week, and yearbook superlatives, to name a few. Superlatives are just another popularity contest, a practice in stereotyping and labeling people, and a vehicle to pigeonhole classmates as “Most Athletic” or “Best Dressed.” It is also understandably tedious to organize the voting, the photos, the page layout. But superlatives are also entertaining, exciting, and a widespread high school tradition. This isn’t some small school tradition like our annual wing bowl or juniors getting football jerseys. My grandmother graduated in a class of about 20 students, and was voted “Most Talented” for their superlatives. My mother still laughs about the superlative sections of her yearbooks when she pulls them off the bookshelf for a trip down memory lane. In my opinion, superlatives are an integral part of a yearbook, and the senior experience.
Other students share my view. “I like [superlatives]. It recognizes people who work hard and excel in different things that they aren’t noticed for,” remarked senior Nate Quarles. Senior Michaela Kiczula feels, “we should have them because it’s tradition.” Sophomore Coleen Butler commented that superlatives “make a bigger bond throughout the class.” Some students are more indifferent, such as sophomore Helen Long, who “wouldn’t mind not having superlatives, but…it’s a tradition in a lot of schools, so we should have them.”
In order to secure a yearbook, Upper Merion students need to pre-order their yearbook in advance, to the tune of $70. In this economy, I try spend my money wisely. The idea of paying for a yearbook that is undergoing unknown changes makes me nervous. That $70 could pay for a months worth of gas in my little silver Honda. Or for another college application fee.
Still, I’ve ordered one. Ms. Smith was able to tell me that superlatives were still “up in the air,” and described the changes to the yearbook as “exciting.” There is stock in tradition, but there is also stock in innovation. For as strongly I feel that there should be superlatives in the yearbook, I also understand the need for originality. Perhaps the Class of 2012 will pioneer a new tradition in our yearbooks.