Friday, Dec. 25, 2009 | 2 a.m.
In a room full of students coming from different backgrounds and different perspectives, it was clear to see the discussions were going to be anything but dull. The students were very well prepared. Many students had different ideas, but unlike in the current political arena, they resolved the issues in an ideal manner.
Kicking off the morning was the topic of whether professional athletes were overpaid. Some argued they were entertainers and athletes at the same time, and the public watches what they please so they should be paid as such.
Yet almost everyone in the room agreed that although they were entertainers, the amount they get paid seems to border on the ridiculous. Students brought up teachers and even firefighters who train for months and risk injury, yet don’t get paid the outrageous sums like Cristiano Ronaldo or David Beckham.
The discussion quickly moved to technology and whether its uses decrease people’s thinking. Many agreed the decrease in the thinking process would only happen if there was a misuse of technology.
The group seemed to agree there is a need for technology to move forward in the future and should be used as a building block. A student quoted his father when saying that technology has enabled students to “work smarter, not harder.”
Making a sharp turn to the current immigration laws and enforcement, many more students spoke up and gave their opinions. There seemed to be a consensus that immigration reform should proceed and that laws that emerge from a restructuring of immigration policy should be strictly enforced.
The American dream was cited as the primary reason many immigrants risk the dangerous trek to the United States. If our ancestors were immigrants and had the chance at the American dream, why should we deprive this of others?
One student brought up the ludicrous amount of time it takes for a person to request and actually receive a visa. He mentioned that because the visa process takes too long, many don’t even take the chance to apply and just become undocumented immigrants.
The greater part of the group, including myself, agreed reforming current immigration laws should be initiated and the section relating to refugees revisited because many people are fleeing their countries for more than just political reasons.
The current state of the economy is dire and is being felt in the United States. If the United States is feeling the pressure of the economy, Third World countries and their citizens are drowning.
This led to another subject of whether English should be the official language of the United States. An immediate response of the majority was “no!” By making English the official language, the entire notion of America being the ultimate melting pot would be lost because we would be negating other cultures and their traditions and languages.
Restructuring education to better compete in the global community, the current movie ratings, lowering the drinking age, stem cell research, abortion, and even Guantanamo Bay were hot issues that also were discussed.
Many older generations think young students are numb to the issues that surround them, but, in reality, students are more concerned and have opinions that could actually better the community.
The Sun Youth Forum brought together many students from across the valley with different backgrounds and ideals. Despite all of this, a sense of political efficacy emerged within the students and there was a renewed sense of trust. The Sun Youth Forum made teens’ opinions matter — for once!