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Barrington students witness civil discourse

I have been re-watching “The West Wing” over the past couple months. It’s on Netflix and the first time it was on I was only 9.

Even though the first few seasons were filmed in the late ’90s and early 2000s, I am amazed at how every episode remains relevant today.

One such episode appeared this weekend. While yet another day of deception between the two parties is going on, the president stops to read a speech, which includes the phrase, “There’s a lot more that unites Americans than divides them.”

I think Barrington received an example of this last week when state Reps. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, and Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago, visited Barrington High School.

The men disagreed on many issues, which is to be expected as they represent different parties. But there was a larger issue that united them – the need for students to see two politicians getting along.

To me, this goal meant more than a lot of the topics they discussed. Pensions, gun laws, and education are some of the most important issues facing the country, but they don’t matter if it’s impossible to discuss the problems at hand.

Having McSweeney and Mitchell sit down, and voice their opinions without calling one another wrong was refreshing to see. They acknowledged their disagreements, but mentioned the respect they have for one another and the need to have such discussions. It appeared as if they were actually listening to one another.

For me, this brought a sense of hope. First, because I saw it is possible for two people on different sides to cooperate with one another.

My second reason for being hopeful is because I saw students share in my surprise. I hope that maybe some BHS students will get into government and politics with a bit of optimism, knowing they can make changes if they are willing to cooperate.

At Barrington High School, the desire to unite for the students outweighed the dividing nature of the bigger issues.

You can read a full recap of their visit on page 14.

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