The Fear I Carry

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Senior Isabella Pedraza

Senior Isabella Pedraza

Photograph by Courtesy I Pedraza

Photograph by Courtesy I Pedraza

Senior Isabella Pedraza

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An Op Ed Submission by Isabella Pedraza

It’s 2018 and our nation is divided.

We’ve lost touch with the other side, refusing to listen to each other’s arguments and understand each other’s perspectives. Today’s political climate is filled with discord, accusations, and political figures that neglect the individuals they represent in order to further their political agenda.

The power of the individual becomes less and less important to the men and women who make decisions that directly impact us. Our representatives have forgotten the social contract and what it details.

How do we rise above national fear?

When Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote the Social Contract, he feared that “… laws are always useful to those with possessions and harmful to those who have nothing; from which it follows that the social state is advantageous to men only when all possess something and none has too much.”

His fear was never meant to become a prediction of today’s policy. It makes me question my pride, trust, and faith to this country. It has made me question the legitimacy of the democratic process.

Does our Democracy create policy to benefit the people or the “those with possessions?”

Does our Democracy that was built upon freedom, equality, and justice still protect those that need it most?

The answer is clear: Democracy has failed my generation, my people, and myself.  When there is an overwhelming sentiment that as a community, we are being ignored, something is wrong.  When there is a feeling that unless you are a corporation, a person with money, or a family friend, reaching out to your representative is pointless, something is wrong.

When there is a fear that our bodies, our individual freedom, our safety is no longer being protected, something is wrong.

As a woman, as a Latina, as a citizen of the United States, I feel helpless.

As a Miami Country Day School student, I am always questioning how we respond to national sentiments.

I appreciate the efforts certain faculty and social groups have made to discuss contemporary issues. Their determination to bring understanding, awareness, and integrity to our community gives me a sense of hope, a sense of change.  

Yet, as proud as I am of MCDS, I am disappointed.

I understand that by attending this school, I am privileged.

I am a minority who experiences a quality education.

I am a minority who sees college as the next step in life.

I am a minority who feels safe enough to not fear for my body.

My family, through their hard work have created a rarity: a privileged female Latina.

 

I say I am disappointed because one would expect in such a privileged school an atmosphere of intellectualism, tolerance, and respect for each other’s opinions. Yet, the same division that plagues our nation divides our school.  

Part of my frustration stems from the fact that the organizations that were created to promote discussion, such as Pizza with a Point, are seen by many as theatrics: instead of attending to speak about contemporary issues, students attend Pizza with a Point to see “drama unfold.”

This “drama,” like today’s current political situation, stems from the fact both sides consider each other wrong, calling each other “social-justice warriors” or “anti-progress.” The lack of understanding we have towards each other does not allow us to improve ourselves as politically aware citizens.

Another reason for my disappointment is the fact that in Pizza with a Point, those with opposing views either don’t attend or never say anything, but continue to say things outside of Pizza with a Point that others find hurtful.

When MCDS students are faced with criticism, many choose to respond with aggression, disrespect, and lack of understanding rather than listen to the message it must carry. I understand that this op-ed may be faced with these same reactions. But even so, I choose to write this because, unlike many, I know I have the power to make my voice be heard.

And so, as a community, I would like for us to ponder on these next statements.

Perhaps, because of our privilege, we’ve become desensitized to the rest of the world around us.

Perhaps, because of our privilege, we believe that the issues that affect millions of Americans don’t apply to “us” .

Perhaps, because of our privilege, we forget that we are the ones given the opportunity to make a difference in the communities we represent.

Take a minute. Internalize this.

Let us not forget where we come from. Let us not forget what our families have done for us. Let us not forget the power we wield to make America a better place.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The content of both The Spartacus and Spartan TV is determined by the staff and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Miami Country Day School’s faculty, administration, advisers or student body. Letters to the editor and guest commentaries may be published in excerpts or full at the discretion of the editorial staff.  The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in letters, excerpts and guest columns are the writer’s alone and do not necessarily reflect those of any other party, including the opinions or policies of the staff. The editors review all submissions including letters to the editors, advertising, guest commentaries and reserve the right to edit, publish and refuse material. Reasons for refusal can include length, clarity, libel, obscenity, and/or material disruption of the educational process at Miami Country Day School.
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