Being handed the “I Voted” sticker is the only concrete memory I have from my first time going to the polls and voting. But there was a rush of pride that I’d never felt before. That day wasn’t just about deciding the fate of a local ballot initiative regarding the use of public parking lots — it was so much more. It resembled an encapsulation of the America that is subliminally understood but willfully underappreciated. It is the greatest relay race in history; every generation has carried the torch of progress through world wars, economic calamities, civil unrest, and unspeakable national tragedies to protect the loudest instrument that we have to actively engage with changing the status quo: our right to vote.
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In her column “I'm a legacy student, and I'm not ashamed,” Agatha Advincula tried to show her pride in her legacy status and in her continued family connection to Penn. Advincula quickly faced backlash from readers for not “checking her privilege” in the article. In a Facebook comment section that reads like that of controversial social media influencer, people began deviating away from Advincula’s argument on legacy admissions and instead attacked her as a person. Particularly vicious comments called her “pretentious,” a “fraud,” and worst of all, not being worthy of admission to this institution. As uncivil as they were, these comments didn't actually make the effort to engage with Advincula’s argument. Rather, they smeared her reputation and questioned her right to be at Penn, all in an effort to delegitimize the person behind the article and avoid a conversation that could’ve resulted in a more nuanced dialogue.