Students and Midterms (Not the Academic Kind)
by Dylan Sherman
Many tired faces have been forcing themselves to stay awake as of late, staring into an open abyss– a television. The information is vicious, swallowing its viewers whole, as the audience becomes completely enthralled by the content on the silver screen. The content, in question, of course, is the constant coverage of the midterm elections. As for the audience, most of them cannot vote.
Generation Z have been labeled as dedicated consumers of the media, causing the coinage of the term “screenagers.” However, many of said screenagers are not self-indulgent in their media consumption, as they are using it to keep themselves educated regarding the issues in the world around them.
“I follow the news — because, as a teenager, it’s going to affect my peers and me in the years to come,” says Nicolas Rimalovski, a senior vocal major at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School (FSSA).
Although many cannot vote yet, teenagers of Generation Z are very involved in the issues they care about. At FSSA, students had the opportunity to pre-register to vote earlier this year and are encouraged to discuss the current political climate in New York City in various classes, such as AP Government and Journalism.
“A big part of our school’s mission is to raise awareness for things, and get kids interested in things and issues that relate to them and relate to societal problems, and to know the ways in which to remedy those problems, and how the Government in some ways is responsible for creating some of those problems,” says AP Government teacher Mr. Sckalor.
FSSA teachers work hard to create a generation of well-informed citizens, many of whom have formulated their own opinions on the upcoming midterm elections.
“For me, I think democracy is at stake. I could also say abortion rights because that’s pretty important. That’s not funny. The Supreme Court is reviewing a case in March that determines whether or not election results can be overturned. It’s scary,” says Dani Brown, senior drama major and drama representative.
One of the most pressing issues concerning teenagers in the upcoming midterms is the issue of abortion rights. Following the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, states have been allowed to ban abortion, no longer making it a constitutional right. New York state has protected the right to abortion under any circumstances since the Supreme Court decision. However, this stance may change depending on the results of the upcoming New York election for Governor.
“The recent overturning of Roe v. Wade will have a pretty big role in the midterm election, even in seemingly liberal states that have never really had a problem with abortion. I think we will see that topic surface a lot. The issue has expanded a lot more recently,” says Jolina Jimenez, a senior drama major and co-founder of the Latin Student Union.
On the ballot, the two candidates for Governor of New York state are Republican Lee Zeldin and Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul. Recent press conferences have discussed the candidates’ views on abortion. During her recent debate with candidate Zeldin, Governor Hochul vowed to protect women’s healthcare in New York.
Governor Hochul did not hesitate to point out Zeldin’s compliance with anti-abortion bills. She called Zeldin out during the debate, saying: “We can talk about policies all we want but let’s look at the record – there are very few people in Congress who have a more pro-life record,” in regard to her opponent Zeldin.
Abortion rights are a pressing issue for women at FSSA. This issue concerns women and all students hoping to be allies to those seeking reproductive rights.
“This isn’t something men should stay quiet about,” says Nicolas. “If you are close to anyone who can get pregnant, it is essential that you support them by voting and protecting their right to choose.