In the Thick
Relying on the historical record and the observations of long-time staffers, the Boys Nation Class of 2016 produced several historic moments, which also contradict our current state of national politics.
Federalist Presidential nominee Anighya Crocker (TN) (right) and Vice-Presidential nominee Rudy Ogburn (NC) / Photo by T.M. Lankford (all rights reserved)
The most telling difference between the debacle of the national presidential race and that of the race for President and Vice President of Boys Nation comes down to the four young men pictured at left.
Each bore a die-hard passion for the position which they were pursuing. Each made missteps — sometimes major — along the way. Each managed those mistakes with a deftness and grace unheard and unseen in major party politics.
But, what did they ACTUALLY do that was so impressive!?
Nationalist Presidential nominee Emmanuel “Manny” Jones (PA) (right) and Vice-Presidential Choteau Kammel (NE) / Photo by T.M. Lankford (all rights reserved)
In their one-and-only Presidential debate, Anighya and Manny came out swinging — on policy topics. But, very quickly, the Nationalist candidate began taking personal swipes at his opponent. (No rule excludes this, and it’s a favored strategy of national politicians. Yet, it backfired with a noticeable vengeance among the voting Senators almost as soon as the words were spoken.) Reflecting on his actions, Mr. Jones made an apology before the entire staff and Boys Nation Senate. While he did not withdraw himself from the race, he owned the hurtful statements made against Mr. Crocker. He showed true humility and a sense of character beyond his years. Mr. Crocker fully accepted the apology and pointed out that neither candidate was a perfect individual.
The Vice-Presidential debate produced an equally astonishing result but for quite a different reason. Feeling overcome and outmatched by his opponent from the Nationalist Party, Mr. Ogburn withdrew from the race. (An important note: Boys Nation harkens back to the early days of American politics, where it is completely acceptable to have a President from one party and a Vice-President from another. The elections of each are held separately.) Having publicly and officially announced his withdrawal from the race, Rudy was not allowed to reenter. However, this young man — though extremely conflicted by his decision — never withdrew himself from the program at-large. As a Senator, he fought on for the legislation he felt best served America. His opponent, Mr. Kammel, proved to be quite possibly the most adept Vice President of Boys Nation history.
At the end of the 2016 session of Boys Nation, the collective body of Senators voted on more legislation than any session in the programs seven-decade history. President Crocker vetoed only two bills, and he did this only on the grounds of their unconstitutional wording. The sponsoring Senators agreed with his decisions.