School politics: closet conservatives

Coming from a political family, the main topic of conversation was just that. As a result, I never really wanted to comment when it came up at school or amongst friends, for fear that anything I said would be associated with my Republican background. I draw my beliefs from both parties, so I registered as an Independent this past month.
In high school, students tend to lean towards the left side of the spectrum.
This makes it increasingly difficult for any students who have opposing views to have their voices heard.
Being young, it is hard to understand the Republican point of view; young people tend to be progressives, while Republicans prefer to stick to traditional points of view.
And it certainly does not help that the Republicans in this election are nothing close to moderate.
If they are, they pretend not to be in order to appease the Tea Party and essentially win the vote, thereby perpetrating the school-wide conservative stereotype.
Recently, my father, Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, has killed the campus carry bill in the Florida Senate, which allowed college students to openly carry guns, and plans to do the same to the upcoming hydraulic fracturing bill, which would overturn local bans on the practice.
This is proof in and of itself that moderate Republicans do still exist. Not all Republicans endorse the misuse of our land, as per the common belief, and that not all members of this party are evil extremists.
Still, there is a popular stereotype on the entire party, the gist of it being that they are dishonest and deceptive.
This impression of Republicans today is what I believe prevents many students and teachers alike, including several peers of mine, from voicing their beliefs.
Coming from a political family, I have had to deal with the occasional, “Your dad’s a Republican?” Being a republican meant being an outcast.
It has become something I wish my friends did not know about my family. Whenever a teacher would find out about my parents’ political affiliation, I would always be embarrassed and feared they would associate me only with that.
In elementary school, I had a teacher who treated me differently once she discovered that my dad was in politics. My mom had a meeting with her, but to no avail.
While it is fine to have a difference of opinion, I think all opinions should be present in any community, especially in a learning environment.
“The conservative viewpoint is being drowned out in schools because liberals are more inclined to share their viewpoints….At times, it can be intimidating to voice my opinions when I know they are unpopular,” senior Daniel Carusello said.
In fact, the presence of views from both parties can help those who have yet to decide their political party to form their own opinions.
Although the Republicans I know tend to keep quiet, others are unfaltering in their beliefs.
They just keep quiet about their views and if they talk about them, it is only with their closest friends. They are the minority in this scenario, the odd ones out.
“I try to encourage other conservatives I know to speak out and stand up for what they believe in,” Carusello said.
The newspaper opinions page is proof of this. The majority of the articles are in a sense liberal. While the newspaper is unbiased, these opinions are not represented equally.
Republicans in newspaper have often gotten heat in the past from from those outside of newspaper for their opinions.
Although the same is true for other opinions articles in the newspaper, those who lean right are scrutinized more harshly.
“I am firm in what I believe because I like to look at the argument from both sides and decide for myself what I believe is right, which makes it easier to defend my opinion. Everybody is entitled to believe what they want to, and I respect the views of those around me, even though [teachers and students] typically oppose mine,” senior Gia Castillo said.
A lot of times the high school social scene is simply about blending in. No one wants to be known for their unpopular poltical views or deemed the token Republican kid.
College is really when we get the opportunity to widen our horizons, and meet fellow students with similar interests.
The pool is larger and more diverse. However, why wait until then?
“I try to encourage other conservatives to stand up for what they believe in now sooner rather than later because if not they will become accustomed to having no voice in adulthood,” Carusello said.
I think it is important to remember that a person’s political views do not define them completely as a person. In short, you are not your political affiliation.
Republicans and Democrats have even gotten married and stayed together.
If they can do it, why cannot everyone freely express their beliefs and still eat lunch together?

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