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THE JUNIOR STATEMENT

April 2012

The Official Newsletter of the Junior State of America (JSA)

Volume 1, Issue 5

As Spring State nears The Statement Rolls on By: Iman Baghai

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Obamacare

First off, thank you for reading The Junior Statement. The Statement will help bridge the gap between JSAers all over the nation. This will be the ninth edition of The Statement and the fifth full edition.

Page 3 North Korea and Nukes

This month’s issue will consist of the usual diverse topics discussed in The Statement from JSA news to foreign policy to Obamacare and even foolish advice.

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I urge you to check out the articles and discuss them with your peers. It is through these discussions that we can become more educated citizens.

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Issaquah Minicon

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Iran and Israel Syria Foolish Advice

Again if ANYONE is interested in writing for The Statement on pretty much anything then please do not hesitate to contact me at ibaghai@jsa.org Also, if you have any feedback we'd love to hear from y'all.

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THE JUNIOR STATEMENT Constitutionality of Obamacare By: Karthik Palaniappan PNW 2012 The Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” was passed by President Obama back in 2010 and many consider it his landmark domestic achievement. It aims to lower healthcare costs for everybody and close holes. These holes include insurance companies denying coverage because of preexisting conditions or imposing lifetime limits on the amount of healthcare one can buy. This healthcare law would prevent insurance companies from doing this, which most agree is constitutional. There are other minor provisions. The main constitutional debate, the centerpiece of the whole law, is the “individual mandate.” The law requires that all individuals buy health insurance or pay a penalty—a tax of the same amount as a basic healthcare plan. Only Native Americans and undocumented aliens are exempt. This mandate, the framers of the law argue, is necessary to keep costs down for everyone. The law expands Medicaid to cover more low-income families, and forces states to create health care “exchanges” for people to choose from insurance plans and also prevents insurance companies from discriminating against women or people with preexisting conditions. Obviously, without the mandate, premiums would skyrocket and companies would go bankrupt. To provide healthcare for unhealthy people, the law adds healthy people to the market as a counterbalance. The question is: does Congress have the power to mandate everyone buy healthcare?

Many believe Congress does not have this power. Even a liberal interpretation of the Constitution would not allow Congress to force Americans to buy health insurance. In Wickard v. Filburn the Supreme Court said Congress could regulate home-grown wheat that was only for the farmer’s personal use—not interstate commerce. In that case, overproduction of wheat was affecting interstate commerce, so the Court stretched the Constitution. Many conservatives would not even go that far, but Obamacare is even worse.

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Even if this brings down costs (which is debatable), it is a huge usurpation of power by the federal government. The states can regulate healthcare just the same, and states like Massachusetts and Hawaii have already done so. However, if the federal government suddenly has the power to force someone into commerce who would not otherwise enter commerce, our liberties are at stake. The founders intended with the Bill of Rights that the federal government could not trespass on our individual liberties—our freedoms. If this is constitutional, it sets a precedent that Congress has virtually unlimited power in commerce—that is not what the founders intended, and that is not what the American people want. In fact, an ABC/Washington Post poll found that 67% of Americans either oppose the law completely or want to repeal the individual mandate. Only 25% strongly support the law.

Others believe that the mandate is constitutional. This law does fit with past Supreme Court precedents. The wheat grower case set the precedent that Congress can deal with anything that affects interstate commerce. Healthcare is very unlike other industries—you will never know definitively when you will need healthcare and when you will not—so it’s not a free market. As a society we have decided that people who end up in the ER and do not have healthcare should receive care. This obligation affects interstate commerce because federal tax dollars are used to pay for that care (so taxpayers in Washington have to pay for healthcare for a sick person in Oregon). Under the current system, this is very inefficient. 5% of patients incur 50% of

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THE JUNIOR STATEMENT the healthcare costs according to a CNN documentary on healthcare. The easiest way to save money is to insure that everyone, including the 5%, have access to preventative care so that some or most will not need the expensive treatments that cost so much money. Hence, this law prevents insurance companies from imposing lifetime caps or denying coverage for people with preexisting conditions. It can also be considered constitutional by the taxing and spending powers of Congress. McCulloh v. Maryland set that Congress had implied powers, including broad taxing and spending powers. The “mandate” is not really a mandate since nobody really needs to buy healthcare—they just pay a penalty if they don’t. The so called “penalty” can be considered a “tax” since it is collected in the IRS code. Finally, it can be deemed constitutional through the “necessary and proper” clause of the constitution. Preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions is constitutional, but both sides agree that it will not work without the individual mandate. So, the mandate is “necessary and proper” to carry out this act of Congress. The implications of this law being overturned would be profound. Millions of Americans who would have health insurance may lose it. This is a really important issue especially for youth. The law guarantees that anyone can stay on their parent’s health insurance plan until they are 26. If this is overturned, we would have to start back at square one, back to the partisan fights, to attempt to fix the broken healthcare system. But what do I think? I think the ACA is constitutional. The Founding Fathers stretched the Constitution quite a bit to fit their needs, just as we have done throughout our history (i.e. New Deal). With the economy in shambles, I think the federal government should have more power to act. I wouldn’t be surprised if the court upheld the ACA—both Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy seemed to shift in favor of the mandate toward the end of oral arguments (though both were skeptical at the beginning). It will be interesting to see play out. The one thing I’m worried about is silly partisanship over this one issue. President Obama recently said it would be “unprecedented” for the Supreme Court to nullify a valid act of Congress. First, Marbury v. Madison set the precedent of judicial review. Secondly, Obama used to be a constitutional law professor. If the Supreme Court overturns the ACA, I think he will run against the Court—just more partisan charges of “judicial activism”. Later, a conservative judge asked the justice department to write a letter explaining their understanding of judicial review. When judges respond to politicians, there seems to be a partisan problem even within the (supposedly impartial) judiciary. Similarly, if the Court upholds the ACA, I’m sure the Republicans will criticize the Court as liberal, activist, and their usual rhetoric—it’s negative and unhelpful. The American people really want Washington to do something, not just blame others.

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I think the Court should delay its decision until next term to protect itself. Both sides will criticize unfavorable decisions, and a 5-4 majority will only make the Court look partisan—that’s a bad reputation for the Court, and we don’t want to repeat Bush v. Gore. It should stay out of this political debate for now. A Short History of North Korea’s Nuclear Policy By Jack Noland Shrouded in a curtain of state control, North Korea is one of the most restrictive nations on the planet. In many ways, North Korea is still an enigma to the average America. Heavily guarded from outside eyes, and governed by an autocratic political structure, North Korea is difficult to understand. Couple this with the fact that North Korea is one of the final bastions of Communism, and the unfortunate sentiment that Cold War memories engender, and United States foreign policy with North Korea is strained, to say the least.

The already challenging issue is made more troublesome when nuclear weapons are added to the equation. During the Cold War, one of the United States’ primary prerogatives was to prevent nuclear proliferation in Communist nations. Though the war is over, America still seeks to reduce the global influence of nuclear weapons. Because North Korea decided to vacate the worldwide Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1993 and pursue an atomic weapons development program, it is worthwhile to analyze North Korea’s nuclear policy. After leaving the treaty, North Korea decided to close its nuclear program to international eyes by refusing to accept weapons inspectors. In 1998, following five years of buildup and plutonium manufacturing, North Korea launched a missile into the atmosphere, under the guise of it being a satellite. However, it is highly speculated that this was the nation’s first attempt at an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, often used for carrying nuclear warheads.

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THE JUNIOR STATEMENT Then, in 2003, North Korea began to shoot missiles into the Sea of Japan, angering many Japanese officials who believed themselves to be at risk. By 2006, North Korea had removed much of the disingenuous façade of their program by formally announcing that American military intervention in Korea would be met with nuclear bombing. To prove its capability, on October 9th of the same year, North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon. After three years of nuclear development the nation tested its first warhead underground on May 25th, 2009. In its most aggressive and militant announcement to date, North Korea vowed to strike against South Korea if the North’s cargo ships were delayed or searched by anyone. Over the course of 2009, the government ordered the testing of nineteen separate missiles of varying ranges. In December 2011, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, died, leaving the reins to his son, Kim Jong-un. In a radical departure from the militancy of his father’s rule, Kim Jong-un agreed to halt North Korea’s nuclear program in exchange for American food aid in February of this year. After just under one month, the nation reinstated the program, with Kim Jong-un preparing a longrange missile for launch in the summer. The United States is in the midst of negotiations, and has recently condemned further nuclear development. At this apparent setback, North Korea has drawn its curtain of secrecy tighter, and the true nature of its nuclear program may never fully be known.

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Puget Sound Region Mayor, PNW Lt. Governor, and PNW Governor. Some of the questions asked regarded what experience they have to be qualified for their position and others included how they would describe themselves in one word. The keynote debate at the end of the day regarded who would win on Election Day, November 6: President Barack Obama, or the best Republican nominee, determined by the debates from the day, Mitt Romney. After an intense debate, the delegates overwhelmingly believed President Barack Obama should keep his job by a vote of 23-2. After a successful day of debate it is clear that majority of these JSAers leaned towards Barack Obama and are excited and engaged for the upcoming election. The JSAers that were awarded best speaker awards during their debates are as follows: Iman Baghai (2), Issaquah High School; Vikram Kumor, Issaquah High School; Will Badart, International High School; and Brandon Lecoq, International High School.

International Hosts the PNW's Second Minicon By: Iman Baghai On March 17, 2012 International High School hosted the PNW's second Minicon. International's conference attracted students from various chapters to engage in debates revolving around the election. The event's theme was "Decision 2012". The debates primarily revolved around the republican nominees that ranged from “Resolved, that Romney will win the nomination on the account of his physical appearance” to “Resolved, that Paul will be nominated because of his unrivaled foreign policy experience.” The debates provided the delegates with good humor, discussion, and debate. International also hosted a candidates forum for JSAers who are running for the elected offices of Greater Puget Sound Region Vice Mayor, Greater

Upon reflection, International student, Will Badart, who did majority of the planning for the minicon believed that "the mincon was excellent. The turnout was great, people were really involved in their debates, and the candidate's forum was really productive." As the second mini-convention in the PNW wraps up, the future awaits how many more there will be.

Texas Spring State By Christy Luspo Members of the Texas Junior State came together in Houston, Texas to attend Spring State 2012: “The American Identity: From the Founder to the Future.” The three day convention was held from Friday, March 23 to Sunday, March 25. During this time, the members of the Texas Junior State expanded their knowledge of American politics and were given the opportunity to share their opinions as involved speakers. Held at the J.W. Marriott Hotel across from the Houston Galleria, Spring State 2012 proved to be a weekend full of engaging debates, thought talks, and entertainment. Jackie Parker from St. Agnes Academy shares, “Spring State this year was fantastic. I had the

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THE JUNIOR STATEMENT opportunity to share my own political opinions in debates and it was exciting to be a part of the election process. I can’t wait for next year!” Students were able to familiarize themselves with the political process and fostered discourse on important issues and current events during the convention. Engaging as community leaders, members of the Texas Junior State were invited to participate in debates, thought talks, a Quizbowl, and evening activities during the three day convention where they made new friends and reconnected with old ones. Evening activities included a neon themed dance, a ‘Night in New Orleans’ themed dance, poker, and board games. Texas JSAers owned the political process and got their voices heard. From debates ranging from a three-headed schizo to a thought-talk about victimless crimes, the weekend was full of creative and inventive debaters.

Spring State is always one of the most important conventions of the year because of the elections that take place for leadership positions, both on the regional and statewide level. Students had the opportunity to run, campaign, and elect their officers for the next year. It was both exciting and stressful for the candidates to be a part of the election process, and the anxiety culminated among those running for office until the very last hours of the convention. On Saturday night, the Regional officers were elected for the GCR, ACR, and PMR, while on Sunday morning, the officers for the State positions were elected. The election results for state office are as follows: Governor: Griffin Rubin Lieutenant Governor: Toni Nickel Speaker of the House: Austin Bryan The Texas Junior State is looking forward to a great year with our newly elected officials. Spring State 2012 was a bittersweet convention with the rising of newly elected leaders and the departure of a talented generation of Junior Statesmen. As the year comes to a close, it is important to remember that the Texas Junior State is comprised of politically active teenagers that will make a difference in today’s society.

The True Nature of the Iranian-Israeli Conflict

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By Jack Noland Israel and Iran are ideologically a world apart, but geographically are only about 1,000 miles separated. Both lie within the volatile amalgamation of cultures and history that is the Middle East. Both Israel and Iran are guided by the strong tribalism fomented by Judaism and Islam, respectively. Both also vie for dominance, recognition, and respect in an ever-changing region and world, creating unbelievable and explosive tension. As Americans, we have the “honor” of being the world’s policemen, as we have shown time-and-time again in a multitude of nations. On the other side, many nations have come to rely on us for support. This gives us a certain amount of self-confidence in our intermediary capabilities, and an often-elevated and presumptuous perception of what is right for the rest of the world. This behavior is misguided, as the Israel-Iranian conflict is a multi-faceted, and by no means easy to solve, situation.

In light of Iran’s recent refusal to discontinue its nuclear-enrichment program, suggested by the United States and a variety of other world leaders, Israel has announced that it is willing to go to war against Iran to prevent Iran’s manufacturing of nuclear weapons. Previously, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated that the Holocaust did not happen, and the government has stated that Israel should not exist. Israel has taken a staunchly antiIranian view as well. It is easy for Americans to sit on the sidelines and side with one side or the other. We can prescribe any number of remedies, ranging from economic sanctions to direct military intervention. Yet, the conflict is not simply black and white. As journalist Thomas L. Friedman writes in his From Beirut to Jerusalem, the millennia-old conflict in the Middle East is based on three major principles. First, the political system of these countries is based on tribalism. Judaism and Islam are by no means fully unified religions; there are several different sects and cultural groups within each one. Similarly, the conflict between Judaism and Islam is a battle that has been waged for centuries, most conspicuously exhibited in the Israeli-Palestinian hostilities.

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THE JUNIOR STATEMENT This current debate is merely a manifestation of this eternal war of ideas. Second, the Middle East is fraught with totalitarian and autocratic regimes. Indeed, this is because only the strong rulers survive. While clearly visible in theocratic Iran, this idea governs much of Israeli politics as well. Despite being a democracy, the Prime Minister of Israel must be forceful, assertive, and unafraid to vilify the surrounding Muslims.

Third, and finally, the boundaries of the Middle East were and are foreign creations, crafted in disregard for the cultural layout of the region. In the 1920s, the Middle East was carved up between European superpowers, forcing many people who fundamentally disagreed on a variety of matters into a small space. This added fuel to the ideological fire, and is responsible for the much of the pressure that heavily permeates the Middle East. It is easy for us to call for change and even suggest certain alterations, but it is also shortsighted. The Middle East is a region that has remained in conflict for centuries, and will most likely still do so in the future. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to solve the Iranian and Israeli problem, but simple understanding of the fundamental differences between the two goes a long way toward helping to assuage the issue. This is by no means a call for inaction, but simply careful consideration of the facts. America cannot afford wrongful intervention.

Syria—What Should We Do? By: Karthik Palaniappan A host of protests and demonstrations began around the Arab World in Arab Spring on January 26, 2011, and continue over a year later. They developed to protest the authoritarian, corrupt government and high unemployment. It has called for the resignation of dictator Bashar al-Assad; democratic reforms; expanded civil rights, including the recognition of Kurdish rights (a sect of Islam); and the lifting of “emergency law” created during the war with Israel fifty years ago. This meant that freedoms of speech, press, and assembly were very restricted, and that opposition to the

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government could be repressed. The Assad regime has finally lifted emergency law, granted citizenship to some Kurds, released some political prisoners, and cut taxes, amongst other reforms. However, the most important tenet—that Assad step down—has not happened. Instead, the power hungry dictator has been using force against the protestors. What started as peaceful protests has now turned into a fight between the Free Syrian Army (rebels) and the Syrian Army. The rebels are dominated by the Sunni Muslims (majority religious group in the country), while the government is mostly Alawites (minority). As of mid March, according to the UN, about 10,000 people have been killed, including up to 400 children. Unlike in Egypt and Libya, the rebels are not necessarily winning. President Assad’s forces are gaining back momentum.

The international community has been very vocal against the regime. The US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, NATO, and the Arab League have come out on the side of the protestors. Only countries like Iran and Iraq have come out on the side of Assad. Unlike in Libya, most nations are not willing to pledge military resources to aid the rebels. Major sources of opposition to military aid from the international community are China and Russia. They both have a veto in the UN Security Council and have been opposed to officially condemning the regime or applying sanctions. They argue that this could escalate into foreign intervention. However, back at home, many are calling for US involvement in the conflict. Senator John McCain of Arizona is one of the most vocal, writing: President Obama has stated that preventing mass atrocities is a vital part of our national security policy. He has said that the killing in Syria must stop and that Assad must go. If that is the case, we must take action to make those words a reality. How many more must die before we act?

He notes that this does not need to be unilateral. We can work with the Arab League, the European Union, and NATO.

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THE JUNIOR STATEMENT He further argues that this is in our national security interest as well as Israel’s. Syria is Iran’s main ally. It has developed weapons of mass destruction, sponsored terrorism, and killed US troops in Iraq.

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should realize it needs to better take care of its fiscal house first. If the international community is willing to have a concerted effort then US should participate. If not, then we should intervene alone. Maybe aid and supplies to democratic forces would be acceptable, but getting involved in unnecessary wars is just silly. I highly respect Senator McCain, but I think his foreign policy is overly idealistic and outdated.

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However, many are opposed to “another Iraq.” Last time we went to war with a Middle Eastern country with a strong dictator, we stayed for 10 years—far longer than we expected. Syria also has a stronger military than Libya with Russian-built air defenses that are five times as strong as theirs. If we attack, Assad could also launch an anti-US campaign on state TV, showing pictures of bombs falling and dead Syrians. That may have unintended consequences. Also, the international community is less than willing to intervene again. The Arab League is not as willing to militarily intervene as with Libya. NATO and the UN will not necessarily support a military effort, either. Finally, the Syrian opposition (like Iraq) is very fractured along religious/ethnic lines. A civil war may erupt, making the problem far worse. Iraq’s civil war has not been as big because of US peacekeeping troops.

My take is: let’s be careful. We cannot be the police force of the world forever. There are and there will be other powerful anti-democratic forces in the world. I think in the 21st century, the US

People have always told me, “Haylee, young love is foolish.” “Young people are foolish.” “Don’t you think you’re being stupid?” “You need to study harder, do better, so your future is better,” and then, in a nostalgic breath, after the lecture, they quietly mutter, “I wish I would’ve used my youth completely differently.” And I’ve been given plenty of advice, but I think it’s time the youth starts giving some advice of our own, because doesn’t everyone always say that they wasted their youth? So, instead of listening to the elders, we should start listening to ourselves, the quiet whispers of truth that come from being a child.

Only listen to adults when they’re recounting things they should have done. When your mother tells you that she wishes she wouldn’t have fought with her best friend over that boy, don’t fight with your best friend over that boy. When your teddy bear father tells you that he was once that nerd no one would be friends with, be friends with those nerds. Who knows; maybe someday, they’ll be the men you want to marry. When he also tells you that in high school he wishes he had gone to all those dances, don’t miss out on them. Don’t waste your time sitting at home on Facebook, get out and have teenage fun. When your neighbor, the one who sat with you when you were five while your baby brother was born, tells you that he wishes he hadn’t wasted time worrying about college, follow his example, but not completely. Work hard, but don’t stress over whether or not you’ll get in. Whatever happens will happen, and from the

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THE JUNIOR STATEMENT sounds of it, most people can’t remember their SAT scores, let alone the colleges they didn’t get into. Be reckless. Not with people’s hearts, or with your life; but be reckless with your dignity. Be reckless with your emotions and (sometimes) your body. Have the epic skateboarding accident your parents had when they were young. Embarrass yourself completely. Take the dare instead of the truth. Stick your tongue to that frozen pole. Don’t regret any of the times you snuck out and didn’t do anything but lie in that dark field and watch the freckled sky. Always cry when you’re sad, whether it’s in front of your mom or sitting in the bathtub after your boyfriend of two months breaks up with you. Fall deeply in love. Hurt doesn’t last as long as we think it does, and life is about learning who you’re capable of loving. Tell your parents you love them— whether or not that’s normal in your family. Don’t be grumpy when your mother wants to spend time with you. And if you’re on a trip and see something your dad might like, buy it. You never know what will become the most important item they own. Don’t fight with your siblings. You’re allowed to get into a few knock-out fights, but let them be laughable memories instead of memories you’ll never talk about again because you’ve lost touch.

Read a lot. Don’t be one of those idiotic teenagers who says “like” and follows all the latest trends - unless that’s who you really are. Youth isn’t about conforming; it’s about figuring out how to be the best you can be. So don’t be embarrassed when you buy those pants that aren’t the ‘normal style.’ Create your own happiness. Learn how to rely on yourself for joy. Look at the sky often, and ponder the greater good and what might happen after we die. Don’t follow blindly in your parent’s religion, but read up on all the different kinds. Figure out what you believe in, and then trust yourself. You are allowed to change your mind. Don’t feel like you don’t know anything because you are young—it is often that the young are wiser than the old. The old lose sight of how they felt when they were young, but the young get glimpses of the old souls they have inside of themselves.

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Relish in your good looks. Don’t be cocky, you probably aren’t the most attractive thing in the world, but at this point, we are growing up instead of growing old. There are times when we will find stretch marks, or we will have frizzy hair, or our palms will sweat and we will wonder if life is always this awkward, but it passes. That monstrous zit you have on your forehead will go away, your broken heart will mend, your parents will forget about the C you got in World History, and you’ll start growing old instead of growing up. Cherish the moments where you learn something you didn’t know before. Do this every day, multiple times, if you can. Read the paper. Care. Say “no” when you want to. Don’t lie about your heart, don’t lie about your faith, and don’t lie about who you are. Other than that, lie. Lie about your age and how many people you’ve kissed and whether or not you would vote for a Republican. When you turn eighteen, vote for whoever you want to. Protest the government. Don’t be hard on yourself when you lose something; if it really matters, it’ll find its way back to you. Now that I mention it, don’t be hard on yourself in general. The problems we have today are not going to matter in twenty years. So move on. Don’t shut up about your cup size. Talk about politics and sex and all the things you probably shouldn’t, but be objective. Let other people change your mind about things. Read newspaper articles from all different affiliations. Try vegetarianism. Kiss who you want to kiss. Don’t worry about the first one, or the last one, or the one where you bump noses. Kisses are kisses: memorable, sweet, and one of the most important things in life. Read Audrey Hepburn quotes; I’ve found she’s right about most things. Read Carl Marx and research the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement and the Rwandan Genocide. Be aware of all of the things going on in the world. Spend your parents’ money. Beg them to let you go to New York. While you’re there, try a Coney Island hot dog and talk to homeless men. Don’t be scared of the people on the streets; they have lives just as you do. Be scared of the dark. If you’re a boy, watch scary movies with girls. They’ll only agree to watch it if they want to hold your hand. Trust

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THE JUNIOR STATEMENT

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me on that one. Cry at chick flicks. Be sensitive. Yell at that dumb bully that is picking on the mentally handicapped kids. Pretend you’re scary, march right up to the girl you hate, and then tell her you like her hair. Be nice to those who you don’t like. You learn late in life that being fake is part of being an adult; sometimes, you just have to deal with the people you don’t like. Most importantly, don’t listen to me at all. Figure out for yourself how you want to live your life. Write essays on advice you would give if people were actually listening. Read (and write) dumb adolescent poetry in your journal. Be nostalgic about when you were six years old. Tell people you love them, whether you do or not. Be who you are, and struggle to be who you want to be. Think about your future a lot. Plan your first apartment and name your children and read your horoscope. Be silly and childish and live in the moment. Moments, most of the time, are all we have. Moments are the build-up to great advice; moments lead to experience, and experience leads us to opinions. Opinions are the basis of advice, which should be given often, with a heavy heart and a kind voice.

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The Junior Statement - April