Political Tolerance

Staff Writer Something I think we can all agree on is how proud and amazed we were at the Cause assembly. Here were students who bravely got on a stage in front of the whole upper school and expressed who they are. The rawness and truth in their words was awe-inspiring. The whole assembly probably wouldn’t have happened if Latin were not such a tolerant place. We want people to be who they are, to love who they love, and to believe what they believe, free from scrutiny and judgment. Although Latin is such a tolerant place socially, I often feel there is little political tolerance. Around election time, when the school was abuzz with talk of Obama and Romney, liberal students at Latin, an obvious majority, I found, often didn’t understand why people would support Romney. Even Facebook was flooded with Latin student posts saying things like, “if Romney gets elected, I’m moving to Canada!” When Obama succeeded in winning the election, there were huge sighs of relief among the Latin population. There is nothing wrong with believing Obama is the better choice, and there is nothing wrong with verbalizing it. As a tolerant community, people should be able to state which candidate they are in support of. But that’s just it. I often find there isn’t the same tolerance extended towards conservative students. When Pilar Neumann and I started Young Republicans of Latin, the first political club Latin has had in a while, we met strange reactions. Here we were, 2 conservative juniors surrounded by an ocean of blue (and orange!) liberal thinkers. So who would be coming to our club? Would we be meeting every clubs block with only us 2 talking about stuff we already agree on? Well, we hoped not. As part of club’s mission, we wanted to unite conservative students. We wanted to give them a place where they could come and be supported for not wanting to move to Canada if Romney got elected. We wanted to give them a place where they would be comfortable speaking as a Republican, in the same way that members of the Cause felt comfortable expressing themselves in front of the entire upper school population as LGBTQ. But what is tolerance among a small group of students if they are going to leave the club’s politically homogenous pond and go back into the big Latin ocean that doesn’t extend that same political tolerance? That’s why we want everyone. If you are a Republican, a Democrat, and Independent, questioning, anything in between, we want you to come to our club.  We want you to push your own boundaries, leave your own Latin bubbles, and venture into new ones. We want to educate people about what conservative ideology is, erase the mythology that all Republicans are oppressive to women’s rights. Just because buffoons like Akin are Republicans, doesn’t mean all Republicans share his ideas. We hope that in educating and by fostering a supportive environment within our club, we can do the same throughout the whole school community. We want to get rid of the bad connotations and the glares that students receive when they say they’re Republicans. We don’t want people to be afraid to believe in what they believe in anymore. So now that I have thoroughly pushed my own club onto all of you, I hope you’ll attend the next meeting. But really, I hope that Latin can be politically tolerant in the same way they are tolerant of all those who are a minority. In doing so, they no longer stand out awkwardly as a minority, but are accepted as a member of the community.]]>