By Monica Song
La Cañada High School was honored to host guest speaker Congressman Adam Schiff of the 28th district, on Thursday, November 6. For all of us in the audience lucky enough to miss second period, his talk provided a inner glimpse into the workings of the government.
By 8:30 AM, the newly-renovated auditorium was packed with students waiting to hear from Adam Schiff, a local celebrity of sorts. In his introduction, Assistant Principal Mr. Cartnal emphasized that an event like this “does not happen every day at every school” and as Schiff walked through the double doors of the auditorium, this sentiment was confirmed by the warm round of applause he received.
Funny and relatable, Schiff peppered his speech with anecdotes about his family life back in Washington DC and jokes that poked fun at today’s political culture. He began with an entertaining story about his daughter and her reluctance to disclose her father’s career before delving into the more serious parts of his speech.
First, he touched upon the local concern of helicopter noise, an “LA phenomenon” due to the paparazzi that hover over celebrity homes around the north Hollywood area.
Next, he went on to discuss the international issues he was involved in, namely the war against ISIS. Schiff warned of the dangerous precedent that might be set if Congress fails to debate whether the US should be involved in a war against ISIS. This could lead to the executive branch declaring war in the future without seeking Congress’s approval, a trend he believes is “very ill-served because we don’t know what the future is going to look like.”
He also addressed the issue of government gridlock.
“I think every election is a chance to start over and even though the election didn’t turn out the way I liked, I think both parties need to take a breath, need to sit down, and figure out what we can get accomplished.”
At the end, he expressed the need to move forward. He stated, “The only thing getting in the way of us achieving our goals is ourselves, this very polarized, dysfunctional form of government we have. We have many challenges ahead of us, and we look forward to you, the next generation, to take up the mantle of leadership.”
For the last twenty minutes, students also were able to ask the congressman questions, covering topics like ISIS, low voter turnout, and the changing nature of campaign finances.
Junior Jack Nagel remarked, “The talk was very informative. I thought the part where he told us what we can do as high schoolers to achieve our goals was very inspiring.”
As a last effort to connect with the congressman, students flocked around Schiff in the foyer to take selfies with him, capturing his presence and message in a snapshot to be saved and spread on social media.
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