Student's Reflection on Kennedy-Bielat Debate Published in the Huffington Post

October 22, 2012

An older man, wearing a frown and furrowed eyebrows, came up to the usher next to me and asked her about the seating. She explained that the front half of the auditorium was reserved for college students and, perhaps unexpectedly, high schoolers. "So the people who can't even vote, they sit up front?" he said, disgruntled. "The ones who can't even vote?"

This short exchange between an usher and audience member at last week's Massachusetts 4th Congressional District debate between candidates Joseph Kennedy III (D) and Sean Bielat (R) sparked a reflection by Gabrielle Linnell '13 and resulted in a blog post, "The People Who Can't Even Vote," which was published by Huffington Post College last week.

"This year's election is the first presidential election where I've been old enough to vote. As I've been following the election, I've become more aware of my own ignorance on topics  like entitlement reform, tax reform and others, which are actually very complicated issues," Linnell said. "There's so much I need to learn in order to be a more informed voter. When I heard the comment that gentleman made, I was struck by it—it made me think about how important it is for older voters to take on the role of educating younger citizens."

Linnell is a medieval and renaissance studies major who is working in the Wellesley College Public Affairs Office this year. "I'm majoring in medieval and Renaissance studies because I'm fascinated by the perspective of people living in 16th and 17th centuries, and how it has so much relevance it  to our discussions today," Linnell said. She hopes to work in media and journalism after she graduates, and would also like to pursue graduate work in Renaissance literature. 

The congressional debate, held on Monday, October 15, was hosted by Wellesley and the League of Women Voters. A video of the full debate will be available later this week on the Wellesley College YouTube channel

Read Gabrielle Linnell's blog post on the Huffington Post.