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Supplement: Williams


Kenneth Park

I take a seat inside the windowed balcony at the second debate for the 2016 Presidential election held in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Soon I applaud at Jim Lehrer, the moderator, and the two presidential candidates, the Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts and the Republican Governor Chris Christie from New Jersey. Both candidates then fiercely exchange their beliefs on the legacy of President Obama, gay marriage, and immigration reform.

Four years ago when I was a student in HAFS, friends of mine questioned, “What is so intriguing about U.S. Politics that makes you visit websites like Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire and Nate Silver’s Fivethirtyeight blog every day?” Surely enough, it was odd for a Korean high school student to read analysis about President Obama’s chances of carrying Ohio’s eighteen electoral votes. What sparked my interest in U.S. politics? Having arrived in the U.S. when Saturday Night Lives’ parodies of Sarah Palin and Joe Biden were hot topics, I felt I needed to learn U.S. politics to fully understand American culture. Even when I moved to Korea, U.S. politics proved to be helpful. When volunteering for a legal justice NGO, I was given the task of translating other nations’ constitutions. Fortunately, many of them were based on the U.S. Constitution, which I was familiar with, so I had an easy time understanding other nations’ political systems.

At this moment, I take note of Governor Christie’s remark that criticizes Senator Warren for lacking bipartisanship and boasting his collaboration with President Obama four years ago when the hurricane Sandy hit the nation. I view such politics as source of entertainment: it is a theatre without a script, sports without a referee, and a war without blood. Politics is not only my major but also a part of my life.

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