Students Discover Their Own Political Views

Lizzy Kunze, Rampage Managing Editor

This year’s election was a very influential one for the years to come and showed the voting trends across America. Everyone has their own unique opinion, but as students prepare to move out and have their own freedom to choose, it can be difficult to form your own political opinion. With many news sources coming out saying this or that about what a candidate said or did, it’s hard to decipher if the source is true or not. 

Many students may be persuaded to pick a candidate from the mail that is sent to them. Lizzy Kunze photo.

Matthew Parker teaches AP Psychology and Economics at the high school and has encouraged students to be politically involved. 

“I think for most people their political ideologies originate with their parents’ [beliefs]. I believe that political opinions change or are solidified as the young adult gains more independence and strikes out on their own,” said Parker.

As students grow up and mature, their political opinions change as well. Sophomore Graci Sonntag has been keeping up with this year’s election and has seen a change with her political opinions.

My opinion has definitely changed. It started changing a lot during quarantine. With current events that have happened over this year, I learned a lot and educated myself more about our political system and the people involved. How it changed was a lot through education and also talking with family and friends. We all see different sides of politics and that is really interesting to talk to people about it and why they see what they see,” said Sonntag. 

A lot of students are scared to have a different opinion because they don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings or cause unnecessary arguments. 

“For me, it was pretty difficult to have my own opinion because I didn’t want to hurt any of my friends or family. But, I have broken through that and don’t really care about what people say because politics is such a heated topic that it’s okay to have your own opinion even if you just want to keep it to yourself. But it was really difficult and with talking to friends I have more of a stance on where I am and what I agree with,” said Sonntag. 

A good way that students can form their own opinions is to find reliable sources and to educate themselves about both candidates and go from there. Sophomore Audrey Peterson has used this tactic to help her form her own political opinion.

Find good sources, look at politicians’ pasts, see how decisions politicians have made have affected people, and see if politicians follow through with their actions,” said Peterson. 

For students to form their own opinions, they have to fully understand the issues and how they affect everyone in their community. By fully understanding topics, they can feel more informed and educated about these topics and form their opinions smartly and truthfully. 

Think deeply about the issues and how it affects them and others. Understand the deeper philosophical issues and arguments that surround the issue. I wish we had a philosophy course that examined the origins of political thought. I think many people have a surface knowledge of the issues but don’t realize that the deeper philosophical arguments go back thousands of years,” said Parker.

Students have to remember that it’s okay to have different opinions from others. Just make sure that the information they are basing their opinions on is the truth and that it lines up with their personal beliefs.

I think when students are trying to discover their own political beliefs, they need to do it very unbiased. People right now are just agreeing with a candidate for stupid reasons and they literally have no idea what they are talking about. So go further than just the politics, look at them from just a personal point of view, would you wanna be friends with that person? Would you trust that person? Compare them to the other candidates: how are they similar, how are they different, what do they believe in, or what are their goals. Students need to go beyond just agreeing with a person or a party because of friends or family, this is 100% your decision,” said Sonntag.

Being able to form political opinions is very important. Students have to remember that they have a choice and a voice. 

Don’t just believe what your parents tell you. Educate yourself. Define the beliefs of your generation, not theirs,” said Peterson.