High School Student Interviews her Mother about Elections Past and Present
Hello, everyone. My name is Noelle Guan and I am a San Marino High School sophomore. Today is Wednesday, November 23, 2016, and right now I’m here in Room 404 at San Marino High School about to interview my mom, Wenchan Wang.
Mom, 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 think the one that stood out most is the one that in which President Obama got elected because he was the very first African American who was elected to be the president of the United States.
If you have voted before, what was it like to vote for the first time, and if you have never voted before, how come?
This election was the very first one that I voted. I never voted before because I thought, being an individual, it’s not very likely my vote will have an impact on the election. But I changed my mind this time because I feel strongly about one presidential candidate.
What issues do you consider when choosing a candidate for president?
Economy, national security, welfare, and I think that’s it.
Would you mind expanding on those points?
Well, economy, it’s pretty much, the well being of the national finance, basically. Being a citizen, I have always been concerned about the skyrocketing national debt. Therefore, what ever decision the president makes — and/or the president and the government makes — it has a big impact on the national finance. National security, of course, is something else that is important to me. America — the U.S. — is a major world power. On the other hand, it has also attracted a lot of foreigners and that has attracted a lot of the foreign hatred. Therefore, national security is one of the most important issues that affects the well being and the security of the U.S. citizens.
What advice would you give to a first time voter?
Listen to your heart, vote what your heart tells you.
Mom, I now want to ask you some questions about the 2016 presidential election, starting with, what are your feelings when you learned about the outcome of the presidential election?
Disappointed, very disappointed.
Why did you feel disappointed?
Well, all along, myself and my whole family, we rooted for Hillary Clinton and we thought there’s no doubt that she would be elected to be the very first lady president of the United States. And then we also agreed with her a lot of issues. Therefore when Donald Trump got elected, it was a pure disappointment.
What are your hopes going forward?
As far as election goes, I certainly hope that the electoral system gets retired. Because in my opinion, the electoral college votes do not accurately reflect the opinion of the body of the citizens.
What are your fears going forward?
I think one of my biggest concerns is that the candidates are spending way too much of their time attacking each other on personal issues, as opposed to debating on true issues, political issues. There are ton of economical, political, and other policy types of issues that need to be more clear for the general public. But yet when they focus their debate on personal issues, the outcome, or whatever the message that’s being sent out to the citizens, is not accurately reflecting each other’s political standing.
Has this election changed how you feel about any of the people in your life? If so, why?
Not really. Pretty much all, everyone that I know, and the outcome of their vote are pretty much as expected.
What do you think people outside of the family, or outside of who you know, how do you think they would feel?
Well, from what I was able to observe of my coworkers and people that I know, everyone that I talked to felt very disappointed.
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?
Again, in terms of the deep divides, a big portion, was somewhat affected by the candidates attacking each other on personal issues. If that can be — if any arguments on personal issues or attacks on personal issues can be eliminated, well or at least reduced so that candidates can better focus on social policies, other types of policies, etcetera, then they would have more time to clear up each other’s position and help voters decide better.
What would you think would help the voters decide better, or how they would change their views on how they would vote, and how the results would affect them?
Well, I think the presidential candidates really need to dive deeper into each issue, not to present their positions as a pure propaganda type of item. As we’re seeing now that the president elect had changed his position on quite a few issues already, which tells me, or at least to my understanding, the position that he took when he was in the presidential debates, do not truly reflect his true standing. It was a purely a tactic, or a strategy, to win over voters. So that in itself is biased. So if the presidential candidate can be truthful to his or her opinion about policies and so forth, rather than purely using it as a way of winning over voters, then the outcome would be more meaningful.
Ok Mom, 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?
Well, I think regarding the election of 2016, it shows that the electoral college system is outdated. It’s not reflecting the general public’s opinion, and it needs to be retired for future benefit. What I hope to see is the election that is based on popular vote, as opposed to the electoral college vote, which is skewing the public opinion in my mind.
Ok then Mom. 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 Noelle Guan, signing off.
Noelle Guan is a San Marino High School sophomore who interviewed her mother as part of a World History class assignment and what StoryCorps calls The Great Thanksgiving Listen. Academically, Noelle Guan enjoys learning about history, mathematics, and chemistry. Her hobbies include tennis and art, as she sketches and paints during her free time. She is also especially interested in fashion.