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Closing the political divide at VHHS

Editorial Board

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Recently, it feels like all political conversations among peers have become as heated as the presidential debates between Hillary and Trump. The political divide within Vernon Hills High School has grown dramatically over the past few months. Some students have gone from complete political disengagement to fighting with others of different parties. Whereas, others who were once engaged are now too afraid to get involved due to frequent arguments.

This lack of respectful political discourse in our school is such an issue that people are scared to speak up due to fear of being lashed at or shouted down. This issue is affecting whether or not students feel safe to express their voices.

The editorial board views this as a pressing issue that must be addressed in order to prevent further conflict. The unfortunate reality is that no matter where you are, people are going to disagree with you— especially in today’s political climate. However, learning to deal with these disagreements and maintain a respectful political conversation are valuable skills.

It is our strong belief that a conflict in opinions or interests does not mean that you cannot engage in political conversations. What students need to keep in mind is that there is a certain way to approach these situations without making others feel attacked or silenced.

Our suggestions are to first, educate yourself and remain calm. Educated, calmly delivered arguments are the ones that people will actually hear out. Some restraint and respect for others can go a long way.

Respect is another important piece in resolving this issue. It is important to hear people out and respect their opinions. If you want others to see your side of things, you must hear them out as well. This is easier said than done, but listening is a big part of having a conversation. Regardless of whether you agree with the person, to be properly educated in a topic, you have to know both sides.

Our last piece of advice is to put this into practice. The best way to learn is by testing out new strategies. Try to discuss a hot issue with someone while remaining calm and respectful. It becomes natural with practice.

Clubs like JSA provide students with the necessary platform to hone these skills in respectful political discourse. Exposing yourself to pressing issues and new forms of debate will make you a poised speaker who can express his or her ideals without needing to flip over a desk to make a point.

We know that politics is messy lately. Tensions run high here at Vernon Hills High School and most other places; it feels like politics follows us everywhere. With huge policy changes looming, like DACA, and violent attacks like that of Las Vegas surrounding us, it is hard not to become angry and frustrated.

However, it is our opinion as the Editorial Board that the best way to address these issues is to educate yourself, remain calm, respect others’ opinions, and debate away; just keep it civil.

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The student newspaper of Vernon Hills High School
Closing the political divide at VHHS