From the Editors: The real point of the Simulation

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A beginning to the Townsend Harris school year can never be complete without the annual Election Simulation. A time of excitement and interest for the underclassmen, the Simulation has become an old-fashioned Townsend tradition. It just isn’t the same if underclassmen can’t harass the sharply dressed senior candidates about twenty different obscure policies and expect them to know each and every detail. It’s easy to see why many seniors question the legitimacy of an Election Simulation. With college applications and college classes slowly crushing the senior class, the Election Simulation just throws a wrench into an already stressful situation. However, the Election Simulation’s focus has always been to get the students actively involved in politics. With this year’s dramatic presidential election, Harris is once again buzzing with political fever.

Freshmen don’t realize how much power they hold at the beginning of the school year. They’re basically the senior class’s lifeline: they have the money, the vote, and the power. In most other schools, freshmen are intimidated by the seniors and their infamous freshmen Fridays. Here at Townsend, seniors are scared of freshman ripping apart their campaigns, stopping them in the halls for questions about their policies, or leaving any campaign utterly bankrupt. The freshmen can really get a feel for political power. In the rest of the United States, prices are up and everything costs an arm and a leg more. Here, underclassmen can get a full meal for ten simbucks. Four years ago, a freshman could only get a cookie for twenty five simbucks. Besides letting the students get a taste of political life with business deals and campaign questioning, the Election Simulation actually helps in establishing a strong Townsend community.

The Simulation ends up allowing the freshmen to ease into Townsend social life. Usually, the seniors have always been the intimidating stu- dents: leading the teams, setting the grades, and strutting the hallways they know so well. But here, underclassmen get a chance to connect with the seniors right from the beginning of the school year. It’s hard to get intimidated by Paul Ryan after he hands you water on the track or Dan Halloran after he’s said “people power” for the seventh time in a row.

However, with this senior humanization the original intent of the Election Simulation gets a little obscured. The freshmen start voting for the seniors that helped them out the most, gave the most food, were the friendliest, and some- times were just more attractive. Little by little they can stop caring about the pol- itics and care more about the seniors they connect with. Although they may stop paying attention to the politics, the freshmen start shedding their social inhibitions and become more comfortable in the Townsend family. A little sacrifice of knowledge for social experiences seems like a fair trade. Don’t worry though, when it’s their turn to be seniors they’ll have to know politics inside and out.

The Simulation can be rough. It’s time-consuming, straining, and a major responsibility. The students that can play the part of a candidate and deal with applications and take college classes deserve our utmost respect. It’s still worth it though to help establish the Townsend social family we all know so well. The class of 2013 can handle it. After all, as Dr. Steinmann would say, it’s not like this is Stuyvesant right?

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