Monday, January 17, 2011

Political Beginnings

Do you remember your first political memory?

For me it might have been the tragic assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. On that day, April 4th, 1968, I was in 1st grade. Though only 5 years old, I can remember talking in class about King and what he represented. I can remember the terrible race riots that followed. I started watching the news . . . and I haven't stopped since.

It has been said "that life is understood looking backward, but it must be lived forwards." Dr. King taught my generation to do things differently. Most important he taught us all to look forward to a better day.

What early political memories do you have?


  1. Like many teens my age,September 11 was my first political memory. That day was the first time i saw fear in my parents and teachers. Teachers seemed to be walking on needles the whole day. The unknown scared them. The fear in their face scared me. Though i was probably in third grade, having someone explain to me about terrorism would have put me in denial. I would never back then have thought that bad people really exist.I thought it was a story so i would be behave.If it weren't for their facial expressions and the rules that kids couldn't go outside that day, I would never have known that anything was wrong.I remember my mom picking me up early , 2 hours early , from clubhouse to get me home. She made me quickly go into the car and rushed me home.

    Fear drives terrorism. As a result, fear has made security even tighter and has limited some of the freedoms we have.

    AG ( 1st period -Mr. Connen)

  2. My first political memory was the 2000 election. I was in second grade, and I remember talking about it with my friends. We were basically spouting what we'd overheard our parents saying, because back then, I was oblivious about the political issues facing our country. I also remember someone told me that Al Gore gave cigarettes to poor people who couldn't afford to buy them, which made me not like him so much, because even then, I knew how hazardous smoking is to one's health. But I don't know if that was something I heard from one of my friends or if actually happened... Anyway, my teacher saw that my class was really "into" the election, meaning that we liked comparing what our parents thought about it, so we held an in-class mock election. Al Gore won. (Ah, if only, if only real life had mirrored our 2nd grade fantasy.) Anyway, that's my earliest political memory (the second earliest was 9/11).

    - Bex Ehrmann (5th period - Mr. Larsen)

  3. My first political memory was September 11th. At the time I was only in third grade and even though the twin towers had been hit while we were in school the news was kept quite. It was not until I got home that my mom had showed it to me on the news. I was confused and could sense the fear of everyone around me. Even though this was my first political memory, it was definitely not a good one.

    -Rose Meenaghan ( first period- Connen)

  4. My first political memory was the 2000 election between Gore and Bush. Our elementary school held a school wide election and systematically sent every first, second, third, and fourth grader to the polls. I learned two things from this event; first, children due to their lack of knowledge are extremely biased by their parents and peers. Secondly, although I will not disclose who I voted for, I learned what it was like to be a minority and be on the losing side of the election.

    As a third grader, I was very confused when 9/11 happened. I remember standing at the bus stop listening as my neighbor (also in 3rd grade) told me that buildings had fallen down due to a plane crash. At first I dismissed the story and oversaw the implications of such an event. However, during that school day a social worker came to discuss the attacks with us and later that evening my parents would not even let me walk by the TV. This, of course, manifested a sense of confusion within myself. Since I was kept away from any information the next few days, it was the sentiment of the next few weeks that I remember more. Even though people were still scared, the populace banded together to create a surge of patriotism that truly inspired me to love my country. The whole entire third grade class concert was dedicated to songs about America, perfectly exemplifying that even in tragedy, the United States of America will stand strong.

    Matthew Felz (Conneen 1st period)

  5. My first political memory were the 9/11 attacks. I went to an International School in Taiwan at the time, and it was huge news over there as well. I first learned about it when l when my dad was watching C.N.N. before school. I was 8 and didn't really put much effort to look into it, it was "adult stuff" in my opinion.

    When I arrived at school everyone was talking about it. Students, teachers, and parents were referring to it as "the tragedy". As we all know, Asians shape their children to be well rounded and informed, so all my classmates were fully aware of the attacks and speculations of their origins. The "adult stuff" were now things kids were talking about.

    However, my favorite political memory during my childhood was the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. I thought war was cool and I loved watching George Bush looking like a glorious leader taking down the evil Saddam Hussein. At the same time, I enjoyed my uncles talking smack about Bush saying he's an idiot and Saddam would never be found.

    Nick Trandai (Conneen 1st Period)

  6. One of the first political memories I have happened the week of the 2004 election between Bush and Kerry. I was in Ms. Hamid's 6th grade social studies class and our class assignment was to make a list of why someone should vote for the candidate of your choosing. My family is very liberal and in 6th grade I didn't know about politics myself so I just went with Kerry. However, I was living in Texas and everyone else was writing about Bush. No one really knew what to say, I remember someone saying "Kerry's face looks like a horse" and I even wrote "Kerry is married to a Heinz and they make the best ketchup". It obviously wasn't a legitimate politica debate but I remember the other kids being so critical of me because my political "opinion" was different than their's. I have now realized that this is not just a sixth-grade thing. I have witnessed countless arguments between my very liberal brother and my very conservative uncle regarding politics. It is something many people are very passionate about and they will go to great lengths to convince other people that their political views are right.

    Allison Thomsen: Conneen 1

  7. My first political memory was 911. I was at school and the teachers started freaking out and made us all go to the gym and told us what was going on even though we didnt really understand and it was all over the news and we had a moment of silence the next day and they put flags up around the parking lot.

  8. My first political memory was the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Gore.
    I remember at school in third grade they were telling us about the candidates, and if we were to choose one, who would it be.
    I remember choosing George W. Bush because he had a more friendlier and approachable feel to him.
    Once I got home, I told my parents about it and they asked me why. I was first embarrassed and I decided to actually look into it and actually find a credible reason. Even though I did end up choosing to go with Bush, giving people the reason from my choice was what I learned and my first step into politics

  9. My first political memory was of the 2000 election between Bush and Gore. I remember being extremely Pro-Gore, even though I was way too young to understand his policies. Looking back on it, it was probably mostly an act of defiance against my more conservative parents.

    Anyway, my grade school held a mock election on election day. Each class went into the library one-by-one to cast their votes for president. I remember waiting in line to vote, stumping for people to vote for Gore. Not exactly the most legal thing to do, but then again, I wasn't exactly the most honest child.

    I remember being elated when the principal announced at the end of the day that by a decisive margain, Al Gore was our new president. I also remember being not so elated when I went home to find out that my school's prediction didn't pan out. Maybe if we lived in Florida!

    Paul Grobman (Larsen 6th Period)

  10. Like many, my first political memory is September 11th, 2001. I was in third grade at the time and I still remember that day exactly. My class was in religion sitting in a circle. Our principal came to the door and pulled our teacher out. She came back in and tried to continue with the lesson, but you could tell something was up. Because I didn't really know what was happening, I wasn't fearful. It wasn't until the end of the day when I was supposed to go home with a friend and they wouldn't let me that I knew something bad had happened. After getting home, I saw all the destruction that had occurred, but didn't fully grasp the idea of terrorism. I was perplexed by what had happened and watched a lot of the coverage on the news. The whole thing saddened me greatly, but I wasn't fearful. That same October, when everyone was horrified of flying I got on a plane with my family to go to Massachusetts. I'm glad we did that though because I think going on a plane so soon made me not afraid of flying. The thing I remember the most is the sense of patriotism that the event instilled in the whole country, and while I feel that many people have lost it, I still seem to carry it today.

    Erica Loken (Conneen- First Period)

  11. My family moved to Chicago when I was 9 years old on the same day as the presidential election. I remember my parents stopping to vote on the way to the airport and then watching the election results that night. The winner was the same candidate who my Dad voted for, and this still influences my political opinions today.

  12. My very first political memory was watching Clinton's farewell address on TV with my grandma. As I was only 7 at the time, I didn't completely understand what was going on, but I remember thinking that it looked important. I still have an image in my head of Clinton's bright smile. I remember thinking that he seemed like a good guy, which, looking back on it now, I think his charisma was a big factor in why people liked him so much and still do despite some of his less than honorable actions. I also remember my grandma pointing out Chelsea Clinton to me and remarking about how she wasn't too much older than me. I told her that I was glad that my father wasn't the president. Even then I realized how difficult it must be to have such little privacy and having everyone think of you as the president's daughter rather than your own person.

    Emily Davis (Conneen 4th Period)

  13. My first political memory was of the 2000 elections. Our elementary school held a mock election. I voted for Al Gore, and so did the school. I was certain he would win the real election. I still wonder what would have happened if he did win.

    Renee Anderson (Larsen 5th period)

  14. My first political memory is also the 2000 Presidential Election. Matt Felz and I were actually in the same 2nd grade class, and I also remember our elementary school having a mock-election. I remember watching coverage of the election and seeing all the blue and red states on T.V. When my parents told me that blue was for Democratic states and red was for Republican states, I decided I wanted the Democrats and Al Gore to win because blue was my favorite color (:P). I think Al Gore won at my school’s polls, and I was happy to see Illinois as a blue state as well, but unfortunately Gore and the blue states did not end up victorious.

    This was my first discovery about America’s political system and how we are divided through political parties.

    Scott Siegel
    Conneen (Period 7)

  15. to be quite honest i've never really paid attention to politics. therefore, i have a weak understanding and base of politics. but what i can consider my first political memory is september 11. how typical, i know. yet, i was born in queens and i remember sitting in my elementary school in computer class, and a women popped in crying explaining something about planes and buildings. at the time i was probably 7 or 8, i stood there in oblivion as my computer teacher and the stranger turned on the television in shock and disbelief. i was very unacknowledged of the situation and i didn't understand why the two ladies were in tears. yet, this memory is engraved in my brain. therefore, this is my first political memory.

    period 1

  16. I honestly only have two memories of politics in my life. The first was Clintons impeachment. I understood it only because my parents told me what was going on. The other one was 9/11. I don't think anyone will forget that day who was living at that time. I honestly don't pay attention to politics but thats because i don't understand it. So, after learning in AP Gov i think ill pay more attention to it.

    period 4

  17. I don't have many memories of politics, but the obvious ones for me are the 2000 Presidential Election and 9/11. The only thing I remember about the 2000 Presidential Election was that there had to be a recount in Florida because my grandparents were taking on the phone with my mom and dad and they tried explaining what was going on to me. On 9/11, I was in third grade and as I was walking out to the bus, I saw on the television in the kitchen the twin towers on fire and was very scared. That day at school it was perfectly sunny outside yet we were not allowed to go outside for recess because it was "inside activities day." I also remember that the only other plane to fly that day was filled with blood due to the fact that many people were killed and injured in these terrorist attacks. I will never forget this day for as long as I live.

    Max Kozak
    Period 7

  18. Ive I always been interested in history but ive never really payed attention to politics. There have always been different events in my life that have had political ties, however, the recent presidental election in an event that I remeber the most. This was the time when Obama was becoming popular in the political world. And, being in the younger age group, he was very popular with our group. I remember all of my friends coming into school with their Obama pins and buttons. For me it was never really important, but once others started becoming interested, I did too. I started watching the news more, looking up important political actions, and talking more politics with my friends.
    So while this election is still relatively recent, it still had a profound impact on my political life.

    Christian Wilhelm
    Per 1 AP Gov (Conneen)

  19. My first ever political memory was the 2000 election between Bush and Gore. For some reason, every kid in my class believed that Gore was automatically a better candidate for president because he had been the vice-president under Clinton. Being a second grader, I decided to jump on the band wagon and support Gore.

    The political event that had the deepest emotional impact on me was the attack on the World Trade Centers. I remember walking into my living room and seeing my parents watching the news with extremely concerned looks on their faces. I took one look at the TV and immediately yelled out, "COOL!" when I remembered that I had been in those burning towers just four months earlier. It took me nearly a minute to notice the death toll at the bottom of the screen......

    Ken Kancharla
    Period 1 AP GOV (Conneen)

  20. My first political memory was of September 11, 2001. I was in third grade and remember this day distinctly. My principal announced over the intercom what had been going on, and since I was 8 or 9, I had no idea what was actually happening. My teacher tried to explain by showing us on a map where New York was located, what the World Trade Center was, who terrorists were, and why they would have a motive to attack us in such a horrible way. When I got home, I remember watching the news and seeing the video of the two planes crashing into the Twin Towers over and over again. At the time, this was scary for me and I had several nightmares about this and was scared to fly on planes for a while. This first political memory had an impact on my life and that day will forever remain engraved in my brain.

    Kathryn Batchen
    Period 1

  21. I have never been one into politics, but my first political memory is of the Gore and Bush presidential election. The main recollection of the event is the multiple recounts of Florida due to its importance in determining who won. Other than that, the most vivid thing I remember were the 9/11 attacks. I was sitting in the library when they announced over the intercom that something was happening in New York. We were dismissed for the rest of the day, and I got home to both of my parents being home. They explained to me what was happening, and even as a 3rd grader, I understood that it was a major problem for America.

    Ashton Wasserman
    P. 7 Conneen

  22. My first political memory was when 9/11 occured. I remember I woke up and went down stair and for some reason the news was in and me and my brother, whose was younger than me, started to watch. My mom was upstairs so I saw that the planes had crashed into the towers. I ran upstairs and told my mom but she didn't believe me and then she came downstairs and saw the truth. I will never forget that day and ever since then I have watched the news most nights with my mom.

  23. The political memory that stands out the most is the attack on September 11th. I vividly remember being at school in 3rd grade when the principal came over the announcements. She told us that we were ending the day early and that we should get ready to go. Since they didn't tell us what was going on, we all thought this was a treat. Once I got home, I knew this wasn't the case. I immediately saw my mom sitting on the couch crying in front of the TV. She told me what happened and then we continued watching the news. My brothers came home shortly after and told my mom and I that they put on the TV's at school (Stevenson) to show the students what was happening to our country. I remember being very confused why people were crashing into towers. I had been on a plane numerous times and had never experienced a problem. Immediately following the attacks, I noticed a lot more American flags. We even had a moment of silence at school. Even though this political memory was not a positive event, it showed me the severities that exist in our world and introduced the idea of terrorism.

  24. I have to say that my first political memory was when then-mayor Hartstein came into my elementary school class to talk about, well, being the Buffalo Grove mayor. This was when I first learned about elections, as that was one of the topics that he talked about at length. I can't remember exactly when that happened, but I think it was around 1st or 2nd grade. Beyond that, I distinctly remember 9/11. My mom and I were walking to school when it happened, so I was shocked to hear about it when I entered class that morning. To this day, I can recall a very clear image of the school's flag flown at half-mast.

    Mike Wilner
    Conneen per. 7

  25. My first political memory is when Bush got elected again in 2004. I was in 6th grade and I was in English class reading a book about a caveman. My teacher said something about Bush winning and how shocked she was to see that. I don't think she wanted him to win because I distinctly remember hearing her say, "I guess we'll have to wait another 4 years". At that moment, 4 years seemed like forever. I thought it would never come. It seemed so far into the future. But now, I realize it's 2011 already and Obama has been in office for two years. It's funny because I remember the inauguration of Obama and I remember watching it in my architect class two years ago but that's a different story...

    Jenny Gantumur (Period 1 Conneen)

  26. My first memory of politics is was back in 2000, when i was in grade school. We had a mock election for president and the two candidates were Bush and Gore. In school I voted for Gore but that wasn't because i didn't like Bush it was just because i like his name. And when I got home i talked about the election over dinner and my parents were like, "wow why did you vote for Gore, Bush is so much better" and now after his 8 great years in office, im sure they regretted there decision.

  27. As a foreigner of this nation, I have two flashbulb memories of politics. The first one was during tragic event of 9/11. I was a 3rd grader in an ESL class who excelled at math. Like a typical day, I would put away my raincoat and went to my classroom ready to learn. Everything was normal until around lunchtime when the teacher suddenly stopped teaching. She told the students that a plane had crashed into the twin towers. At the time, I had no clue what the twin towers even were so I imagined some sort of dome shape figure was hit in an accident. Little did I know that this event would change America forever.

    Another famous event that I recall was during the election of the first African-American President, Barack Obama. I was at the new building during 5th period lunch eating with my "dear leader" Brian Kim. We starred at the TV as the President gave his inauguration speech to the nation. Brian Kim was eating curly fries as I was yelling at him the word, CHANGE.

    -Heoun Jeon
    (Period 3 Connennn)

  28. Like many others, my first political memory was on 9/11/2001.

    I remember it being the average day- wake up, go to school, furiously finish my 3rd grade math worksheet, and start my day. Everything was normal. I remember that it was a cool, brisk, fall day. It was sunny out, and I remember walking to school looking up at the sky while listening to the music of leaves crunching under my sneakers.

    In the middle of the day, right before recess; the intercom came on, and the principle announced "indoor recess today-stay in your classroom." Her voice sounded like it had a quiver in it, however, not one student in my class thought any of it. But why would we have indoor recess? That’s the first thing I remember about that day.
    As I walked home from school, holding my 5th grade sister's hand on one side, our neighbor on the other, we held the everyday conversation, how was your day? What did you eat for lunch? You know, normal 3rd grade talk.

    In my head were still thoughts of why there was indoor recess, and why teachers had so much fear in their faces; something I had rarely seen prior.

    I thought fifth graders knew just about everything; "Do you know why we had indoor recess? After all, it was sunny out!" Mollie, our neighbor responded first; I remember her saying that something happened in New York City. I thought nothing of it.

    When my mom got home an hour later, she talked to my sister and I about what had happened. That's when it set in that there really might be "bad guys" in this world. The storybooks lied when every ending was "Happily ever after." I will never think about New York City the same way I did before 9/11/2001.

    Danielle Beram (Larsen 5th Period)

  29. My first political memory was September 11th. I remember waking up and my parents being so upset, while I was so confused. I watched what had happened on the news and could not understand why anyone would do something like that! I went to school and my teacher was very upset trying to explain to us all about the towers and what terrorists are. I remember how sad she was, and I believe she may have known someone who could have been in the attack. I was still so confused and wondering why would anyone want to kill innocent people. When I got home I kept asking my mom "but why!?" and she honestly answered I don't know. Today when I watch the news and see all the horrible things people do I always remember this day and how my question of why? could not be answered.

    Lindsey Hahn
    Period 1 Conneen

  30. A lot of what people have already commented have been a collection of my first political memories. 9/11 is a big one, the 2000 Presidential Election, going with my parents to vote, etc. Yet, I feel like the earliest political memory I have is of my parents watching the news. Every time we'd sit down to a meal we'd turn on the news and listen to people criticize the government...for entertainment. I still don't know how I feel about that. Shouldn't the news be facts rather than bias, serving to inform the public instead of deepening political faction alliances and conflicts?

  31. Just like so many others, my first political memory that I can distinctively remember was September 11, 2001. It started like any other day, and I surprisingly remember very little of the school day. I only remember one kid in my class talking about some plane crashing into a building, but the idea seemed so preposterous that I and the other kids disregarded what he said. It wasn't until i got home that day that I found out what had happened through the ongoing new station broadcasts about the event. I am still amazed to this day how my feeling of safety in the world was shattered that day by one event. That security can never be completely restored, and Americans still battle trying to secure safety that was destroyed that morning almost 10 years ago.
    Annie Feldman
    (Conneen-7th period)

  32. Unlik most others, I do not have a very good memory of the events on September 11. However, I do remember the 2000 presidential when the controversy over Florida arose. I remember this simply because it was such a big deal and I heard my parents talking about it and others. When I look back on that electiong, I think to myself what a different world we may have to day if Gore would have become president. This political memory was definitely one of my first, and it was a very important one.

  33. My first political memory was September 11th. I was in 3rd grade at the time, sitting in math class. My classmates and I were preoccupied with making construction paper shapes to create "Polyhedraville" - a fun and unique way to learn geometry. Just as I was about to tape together my square pyramid, another teacher burst through the door. She seemed rather alarmed, and headed straight for my teacher, pulling her into a corner. After a series of hushed whispers, both teachers left our room. Confused, we looked at each other, but didn't think much of it as we continued to make more shapes. After about 10 minutes, my teacher returned, but she didn't say anything to explain her behavior. It wasn't until I returned home that I discovered what really happened. Unlocking the door, I was surprised to find my dad sitting in the family room glued to the TV. Usually he would be at work when I come home, so I really didn't expect to see him sitting ramrod straight staring at what seemed to be an action movie. Of course, it wasn't actually a movie. When he made no indication of being aware of my arrival, I took a closer look at the "movie". To my horror, I found it wasn't a movie at all, but rather, a news report - reported in real time from NYC. I quickly looked away. That night and for weeks after, my parents were more worried than usual. Although they never did explain what was on the TV, I pieced together the tragic events myself. I will never forget September 11th.

  34. My earilest political memory was watching one of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad being torn down by Marines when I was "sick" one day in 2003. I was flipping between chanels from Cartoon Network to Nickelodeon when I got to CNN and my mom told me to watch that becuase it was history unfolding before your eyes. I did as i was told, and watched it. As i saw them draging the statue to the ground and the Iraqis jump on it my mom told me that I would remember that forever. So far she has been right
    Steven Kalberg

  35. My earliest political thought is the Poland becoming a member of NATO in 1999 this event was the first step that Poland took away form the communistic views it still kinda hung on even though communism fell i remember this day cause of the reaction on my parents face when they heard the news this is why i still remember this day
    Milo Swiatek

  36. My earliest political memory was of the 2000 Presidential Election. I was in the 2nd grade and my teacher set up a mock ballot to celebrate the event. After the votes were counted, I saw that I was one of 3 people who voted for President Bush. At that time, I only knew that my parents favored Democrats (although they didn't really pay attention to American politics) and so I had always thought that Democrats were the good guys. I mean come on, the word democracy is practically in their name. But seeing Democrats as the minority in my class made me realize that politics isn't about a battle between good and evil, although it'd be so much easier if it was. It didn't really pique my interest in politics but it did change my perspective of political parties.

  37. My first political memory that I can honestly remember is 9/11. It was the first time I actually somewhat understood what was happening, but I never really understand WHY it happend until I got a little older. It definitely was something that paved a path for today's government and high amounts of security. My parents and school mostly helped everyone, including myself, understand what was happening. It was helpful because today I have a better understanding when it comes to, our national security and why so many drastic measures are taken.

    Nikki Penherski
    Mr. Conneen, period 4.

  38. My first real political memory is hearing about the 2000 election. I remember my dad staying up very late just to see the results, and I heard about all of the ensuing controversy. I may not have understood it fully, but I definitely experienced just how much a political controversy can energize the people of America.


  39. The earliest political memory I have is from my grade school’s mock elections. The whole class got shuttled to the library to vote in little booths. By the end of the day the votes were counted and it was announced that George Bush had won the election. I remember how some kids cheered and made a big deal of the results, while others were pretty upset. Later that day I asked my parents about the election and they talked to me about the candidates. Although my first political memory is only of a mock election, it has stuck with me for all these years.

    Jeremy Philipp
    per. 7

  40. The first thing I can remember about politics is after the terrorist attacks of 2001, I remember so many people showing support for Bush because of the fact that he wanted to pursue the ''war in Iraq'' idea. I remember that even though I was young and was not directly affected by the attacks, the families, friends, neighbors, teachers, and people all around the community joined the patriotic bandwagon and suddenly supported Bush, and everyone wanted to fight these terrorists. Only to realize after two terms that it did not necessarily turn out as well as it could have been, and here we are with some of what remains from Bush's presidential term, with Obama and Co. trying to clean up some of the mess. But I guess voting for who was able to take the class pet (some lizard) home in second grade could also be my first ''political'' memory.