The elephant in the room
March 5, 2018
I remember the day Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States. I remember going to school and seeing students crying, complaining and overall feeling like everyone was walking around with a storm cloud over their heads. I remember in every one of my classes someone talking negatively about their new president. I remember being afraid to say what I truly felt, and I still feel that way today.
For a long time, I have kept my political views quiet due to fear. Fear of being judged, criticized or mocked. But, contrary to the majority, I am conservative, along with only 34 percent (53/158) of KHS students.
At KHS, we spend a lot of time discussing how not to judge people based on their religion, ethnicity, gender or other affiliations. We assure we are sensitive to other people’s beliefs and accept them even when they are different from ours, however, 69 percent of conservatives (53/77) at KHS still feel their opinions have been shut down or criticized at KHS.
It’s OK to disagree with conservative beliefs. There are two sides to every story, but at KHS, I feel we are only allowed to talk about one, the liberal side. I vividly remember discussing the Dakota Pipeline going through the Standing Rock Tribe last year in one of my classes, and I didn’t agree with what people were saying. As I anxiously began sharing my opinion, other students often just gave me a strange look. My voice slowly faded out because I was feeling judged, and the next person would start talking, breezing over my statement.
Also, there should be a more welcoming and hospitable environment in class so we can hear both sides of an issue. When teachers only talk about one side of an argument and show their bias, the mentality of the class is wired to agree with the teacher’s. High school is a place you are supposed to be exposed to all sides of an argument, not just one.
The Young Conservatives club is a good start. This is where Conservatives can freely speak their minds without fear of rejection or ignorance, with an average 20 to 30 people in each meeting. Unfortunately, once you leave a meeting and go back to being surrounded by disagreement, the fear of speaking your mind doesn’t just stop.
I believe we can all do better to be more informed about all viewpoints. Unfortunately, we live in an era of technology where people don’t take the time to read full articles anymore, just clickbait on social media. People must know the bias of the news source they are reading from before they make assumptions. So I ask for people to fully process news they see before they oppress any side further. This is an issue on both sides of the political spectrum, and having an open and respectful conversation about topics we disagree on is much more productive than being condescending.
The most important thing to remember is that we are all Americans united under one common goal: to better the country we love and the lives of the citizens within it. We just have different ideas on how to achieve that goal.