Turning 18 in an election year

Students and teachers share their political views


Past the mid-point of the school year, the future for seniors is looking closer and seniors are preparing for their life outside of high school, some preparing for college and others for their careers, and what their beliefs are.

With the coming election and students becoming eligible to vote, students should know what their political beliefs are. Views range from student to student while one may be left-leaning while another right-leaning and others who aren’t quite either but, even with their difference in views all sides have something to say.

The Middle Ground and Libertarians

Students who prefer not to label themselves as either left or right-leaning, differ among their exact views but consistently they consider themselves a balance of both ideas. Senior Reily Tintilla expressed this on why she thinks it’s important to think about both sides.

“I don’t like saying I’m one or the other because I think it causes a lot of issues between people,” Tintilla said. “I just like to look at the issues on individual bases.”

Tintilla also expressed her thoughts about becoming a first-time voter.

“It’s definitely scary to go in to because of how much politics plays into society,” Tintilla said. “I’m also excited to see everything I can get into.”

Middle ground students also may share differing opinions when compared with each other and still lean slightly to either democrat or republican/ Left or Right. Senior Josephine Warren, for example, considers himself a Libertarian a more right-leaning ideology that believes in less government intervention in the economy.

“I believe in a free market economy that is held by barley any checks and balances whatsoever but is mostly for the common man to do what he pleases,” Warren said.

He also, however, supports more leftist ideas relating to abortion rights.

“I’m pro-abortion but at a limit,” Warren said. “I’d like people if they make mistakes to take care of it in a lot of good cases but if it’s one after another than your abusing your power than it’s not fair.”

Like other bi-partisans, Warren criticized the left-leaning and right-leaning political parties saying, “The conservative party is too how we say naïve and the liberal bias is a bit bias.”

Libertarian beliefs are on the right when it comes to economic issues. These ideas include less government control and less taxation, but it is more liberal on social issues, for example, less restriction on issues as abortion. Libertarians focus on ideas of self-ownership complete lack of government in personal and economic life this includes any restriction based on moral belief. For example, abortion or the belief in legalizing marijuana usage. Libertarians are not always central like in the case of Warren and like any other belief, there are differences between individuals. Learn more at https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/libertarianism/

The Left

For a perspective on more liberal beliefs, senior Ethan Crane Spoke out on what was important to him. Putting forth his opinion on the topic of abortion.

“I believe it’s a women’s right to choose if you’re so for liberty I mean that is liberty right there,” Crane said. “It’s the right to do what you want with your body.”

Prochoice is a commonly held belief by those on the left and is also shared by another student senior Amanda McMann with similarly left-leaning views.

“With abortion, I think it’s the right for the women to choose,” McMann said. “People should be allowed to do whatever they want as long as they’re not hurting others. People just need to be more accepting.”

Abortion is not the only issue that concerns the left. Liberal talking points usually focus on ideas such as social welfare, increases in taxation of the wealthy, and ideas of social responsibility. These ideas are more commonly held by younger generations according to a study done by the Pew Research center. According to their research Millennials and Gen Z are increasingly more liberal than previous generations. This is seen even among Gen Z Republicans who adopt more liberal ideas when compared to their older counterparts.


Teacher Perspective

Seniors are required to take a government and economics class in order to graduate. Government and economics teacher Sarah Mullins spoke on the topic of the seniors voting in the 2020 primary election.

“If they are not 18 yet or they are 18, they are going to be able to vote, and they need to know who can help them the most with what they want and expect from our economy and government,” Mullins said. “They deserve to know the truth.”

Mullins advises seniors to be involved in politics if they are not already. As heard in the news, students across America join protests in order for their voices to be heard.

“I think that a lot of students are passionate about a lot of things,” Mullins said. “The best way to create the change that they so vehemently protest that they want, they need to be involved in politics.”

For the students who are not involved in politics and would like to be, but do not know where to start, Mullins gives advice on how to go about involvement with government decisions.

“Start small,” Mullins said. “Get involved with your city, go to commissioner meetings with your city hall, just go to these town meetings. If you find something that you do not like is being passed that you do not like, then you can speak up.”

Being a registered voter, Mullins participated in the 2016 presidential election between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. This was the first presidential election that she was eligible to vote.

“The first time I voted in the primary, it was kind of a hot mess,” Mullins said. “People were still campaigning right there. You have people in t-shirts that are trying to come at you with ‘Please Vote Clinton’ or “Please Vote Trump’.

If the thought of voting may make you nervous or not want to show up at a voting booth, there is another option in order to vote. Mullins recommends a different form of voting to seniors who want to make sure they choose the right candidate.

“I recommend setting up and registering for absentee voting,” Mullins said. “Meaning they send you the ballot to your house because you can pull up your phone or your laptop to research.”

The Right

With the presidential primaries coming up next month, senior Sarah Schreiner and 18-year-old junior Jason Young share their views from a right-wing perspective.

“A couple of months ago I was sure I was going to vote for Trump,” Schreiner said. “Now I’m not positive on who I’m voting for. I found out about him bombing Qassim Suleimani and ‘World War III’ and I just want to know some reasoning to why he did it. I need to do some more research and watch the news before I make a decision.”

With different candidates to choose from on all sides of the political compass, finding which one to vote for may be difficult. Many candidates share some of the same views while also disagreeing with others.“It’s important to research all of the candidates,” Young said. “Try to look up what they all individually believe in. You need to keep up with all of their opinions and see what they each stand for. Try and see which candidate would be best for the country. ”

According to census.gov, only 46.1% of people ages 18-29 voted in the 2016 presidential election. Both Schnieder and Young believe that the low numbers are due to laziness or people simply not caring.

“I encourage everyone to go out and vote,” Schreiner said. “We are the generation that can fix this world and make a change. If you don’t like how America is at the moment, get off your butt, do something about it, and vote.”