Election 2008

The LJHS 8th graders have been interested and engaged in the 2008 presidential election, often having spirited opinions on who the best candidate for chief executive might be. Last week, the 8th graders read and discussed articles and voted online, along with the 6th and 7th grade Social Studies classes.

A sample of the election related assignments that we have been doing in class while we were also learning about the Political Spectrum.

This election carries with it a number of historical firsts. A brief analysis:

Barack Obama – Democrat:

Obviously, if victorious, Senator Barack Obama would be the first African-American elected president which would represent an enormous stride in overcoming America’s painful historical legacy of discrimination in race relations. But Senator Obama would also be the first president from Generation X, moving us past the highly divisive Boomer Generation presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush ( in the opinion of most historians, while the WWII “Greatest” Generation was our most unified – and produced the most presidents – only the founding generation of the Revolutionary War and the generation that fought the Civil War were more sharply divided politically than are the Baby Boomers).

Senator Obama would become our fourth youngest president, if elected, behind Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton. However, Senator Obama would also come to office as the least experienced president in American history, in terms of holding public office, having only served two years as a Senator and six years in the Illinois State Senate.

John McCain – Republican

If elected, John McCain would be the first ( and likely, only)  president of The Silent Generation and the first to have experienced  having been a prisoner of war. Our last president before John McCain who technically had combat experience in wartime, was Richard Nixon but John F. Kennedy is a better analogy to McCain’s brutal experience as a Vietnam War pilot, having served in a Navy PT boat in WWII that was blown up by the Japanese.

While considerably more experienced than Senator Obama, if elected, Senator McCain would become the oldest president in American history, approximately three-and-a-half years older than even Ronald Reagan was in 1981.  His running mate, Governor Sarah Palin would make history as our first female Vice-President.

Student in interest in this momentous election has been the highest that I have seen in my entire career at Lakeview. I encourage any parents to discuss the campaign issues and their reasons for voting Tuesday with their child – many of them will be casting their first ballot in 2012 or 2014!

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