High School Student Interviews her Sister about Elections Past and Present


The StoryCorps Interview transcribed below can be heard in its entirety by clicking here.


Hello, everyone. My name is Emily Thai and I am a San Marino High School sophomore. Today is November 25, 2016 and right now I’m here at my house in San Marino about to interview my sister, Kimberly Thai.

Kimberly, given that it was just a few weeks ago that Americans elected Donald Trump to become the next president of the United States, I want to ask you some questions about the American presidential election process.


First off, I want to you ask you about elections of the past, starting with the question — What election, if any, stands out in your mind the most, and why?

I would have to say the most recent election is the most prominent election, in my opinion. I think this is because it has created the biggest divide I’ve seen within the country. I think both candidates are very different in their campaigns and in their policies that they want to establish, and it’s brought in so many different issues that haven’t really resurfaced before in past elections.

If you have voted before, what was it like to vote for the first time and if you’ve never voted before, how come?

I’ve never voted before, and that is just because the milennial mindset — it’s a bad mindset — but it’s the mindset that California is obviously going to swing towards our demographic ways. Milennials like myself and like some other people believe that our vote doesn’t necessarily count, but I know that is not necessarily true.

What issues do you consider when choosing a candidate for president?

Well, I first want to look at what they stand for and if it aligns with what I stand for, so that would be their policies on abortion, healthcare, military spending, etc.

What advice would you give to a first time voter?

I would say that you need to register early. Registering early is the first step, and it’s going to be a really easy step. I would also recommend that you do a mail-in ballot so that you don’t have to worry about going to the election polls.

What were your feelings when you learned about the outcome of the presidential election?

I was very shocked. I was so shocked to the fact that I couldn’t really believe what was happening. Even the next day I was still in shock both physically and mentally. It was a really big surprise to me, to all of my friends, and to my family.

What are your hopes going forward?

I hope that politicians and all Americans across the country can first act neither as a democrat and neither as a republican, but act on the basis of being Americans. I hope that we do get some policies to help keep our country as the supreme leading power in the world.

What are your fears going forward?

I fear that there might be some really radical measurements or reforms being made — I say radical in my opinion only because I am part of one party more than the other, but I just hope that the divide within the country doesn’t get worse.

Has this election changed how you feel about any of the people in your life? If so, why?

I do think it has changed my perspective on some of the people in my life because I do know some people who have extremely different political views than me and political opinions. Some of them are my very close friends and after listening to their opinions and their thoughts on the election ,— why they voted for a certain candidate and not another certain candidate — it was a very eye opening experience because it allowed me to keep a greater open mind and I know that they are smart people so I was able to learn more just about politics and about compromise.

A lot of people are talking about the deep divides in our country today. Do you have any wisdom you can share on how we might begin to heal them?

I would say that the best way to heal the divide that is currently tearing our country apart is to work on compromise and I know that is a very taboo myth within politics because there is no compromise. It’s very hard to compromise any political amendments or measurements so I would say compromise if possible, to listen to definitely both parties, and not to let one party become too dominant over the other. I would say to just treat all fairly, to treat all equally, and always be kind to one other, but that is more of a moral standpoint.

Ok Kimberly, so we’ve just about come to the end of the interview, but before signing off, I’m wondering if there is anything else you would like to say about either an election of the past or the election of 2016?

I think the election of 2016, specifically, has a very notable impact, and it’s a very significant event within the 21st century. I’d say that most people will never forget this election, and it’s definitely a memorable one, that people will look back on and have something to learn on. I think from this, we’ll definitely have more voters in the future. I think we’ll have more of an open mind when it comes to differing political viewpoints. Overall, I hope that there is more participation activeness in the voting participation rates.


Ok then Kimberly. The interview has now come to an end. I really want to thank you for your willingness to answer all of my questions. I much enjoyed. And hope you did too.

This is Emily Thai signing off.

Emily (left), Kimberly (right)


Sidenote #1
Emily Thai is a San Marino High School sophomore who interviewed her sister as part of a World History class assignment. Emily Thai is 15 years old and has two older siblings. She loves basketball and plays on her school’s team as a shooting guard. She enjoys watching movies and tv shows during her free time.

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