High School Students and Politics

In our nation’s current political climate, it is essential that one has a clear stance on an issue. So why are high schoolers, more specifically Shaker students, so adamant on staying away from politics?

Maya Blanchet, President of the Shaker High School Democrat club answered, “It has turned into something that people would rather not talk about. If someone’s friends feel some way on a matter, they might feel obligated to support their [friend’s] opinions, and they might not have the courage to put their voice out there.”

Have politics always been like this? Just another thing that students need to conform to in order to fit in?

American politics today are far more complicated than they were in the past. The Democratic and Republican parties have largely dominated our government throughout our history, and it does not seem like this will change anytime soon. In the past, people chose to affiliate themselves with either of the two parties, as it provided for a stable, democratic government system. People were afraid to delve too far into the radical spheres of politics, as it would disrupt said stability.

In today’s politics, it is impossible to be merely a Democrat or a Republican – the differences between the two parties have only begun to become more and more significant, causing a rift between Americans. Because of this, people are now being sorted into eight different “typology groups”: Steadfast Conservatives, Business Conservatives, Solid Liberals ,Young Outsiders, Hard-Pressed Skeptics, Next Generation Left, Faith and Family Left, and the Bystanders. These typology groups more easily define Americans on their stance on issues such as foreign policy, the economy, and the way we as a country should be governed.

With the Trump Administration in office, more and more people are choosing to speak out on their outrage or views, while not being restricted to the Democratic and Republican parties. NPR News lists: “The Confederate flag… The Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage… Policing minority communities… Nuclear weapons and Iran,” as factors that have caused a lot of controversy within the two political parties, causing people to branch off into their own school of thoughts.

Are these controversies pushing students away from educating themselves on politics? 

Mariam Rehman, a Junior at Shaker High School replied with, “I do like to keep up with what’s going on, but I don’t put my opinions out there.” When asked why that is, she replied, “in general, I think students feel like their opinions aren’t important, and fear being judged.”

“We’re at a point in history where we’re facing a polarizing divide between both parties,” Maya continued on. “People need to get over their fear of being judged for their own opinion… our generation is the future of America, and the only way we can make an impact on society and future generations is if we become active now.”

Students may also be hesitant to get involved because they don’t know how to. Many students tend to follow their parents’ or friends’ views, and don’t know how to educate themselves on the other spheres of politics.

When asked how students can involve themselves in politics, Maya answered, “Join the Democrat or Republican Club! Or even both – it’s good to remain neutral at first, before forming your own opinions!”