By Jake Sticka
Since its victory in the American Revolution, American democracy has been looked upon by the world as a bastion of liberty and freedom. On a much smaller scale, the Preuss School UCSD has also been used for a model for growth. If not inciting the French Revolution, Preuss has begot national acclaim and become an inspiration for area schools like Gompers Middle School and the new Lincoln High School.
As such, it is sensible that Preuss would be used for foreigners to learn about both systems. From Oct. 30 to Nov. 8, Preuss will host eight French foreign-exchange students. All ethnic minorities, they will live with the families of various Preuss students that were accepted through an application basis.
Their main purpose will be to observe the American election system and its differences from the arguably more streamlined French system. As a secondary objective, they will follow a senior schedule of classes and be able to participate in the American education system.
Preuss has planned a reception event for the students, and several students have begun to learn basic French phrases to help the students feel welcome once they arrive. Families allowing students into their homes have also been commended by the administration.
The most important aspect of their trip being a success, however, will be the election itself. Since 1800, America has had a tradition of peaceful transfers of power between parties. However, in recent years, this tradition has been tested. In 2000, the Florida recount was one of the most hard-fought elections in American history and emotions still run high over its outcome. Although far from as sensational as 2000, 2004 also saw controversy with Congressional Democrats attempting to contest Ohio’s electoral votes.
When Preuss hosts its own student-election on Nov. 4, another model from which our foreign-exchange students will study, demographics tell us the race will be less close than either of those two. However, if the actual race were to tighten before election day, the post-election activities planned for the students could be spoiled. The groundwork for contention was laid when John McCain accused the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) of “perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”
This sort of post-election squabbling is not a precedent we can afford to set. America’s “moral imperative” has already been squandered across the last four decades. Preuss is not the only campus in America hosting foreigners to watch our process, they will be scattered across the country. Those not fortunate enough to visit our country will surely be watching from abroad. Even with this election’s importance, we must not forget that every four years the eyes of the world fall on American democracy. We can not disappoint.
Jake Sticka, a senior at Preuss School UCSD, is editor-in-chief of the Preuss Insider.