Diverse political ideologies abound at Shores

Chris Horvath, Feature Editor

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Politics and teenagers. This is something that most people don’t see as a popular topic these days.

“With high school kids and politics, apathy is more popular than either side, and that’s scary to me,” social studies teacher Brad Kurth said.

“Not being involved is bad; being engaged, at least you have an opinion not so much worrying about being too far right wing (conservative) or too far left wing (liberal).”

Most social studies teachers at Shores said they do not see a prevailing majority of conservative or liberal students.

Social studies teacher Kyle Mireles said most people’s ideology is based upon their family.

Shannan Conrad, another social studies teacher, said her ideology, which is liberal, was formed from her mother.

“My political beliefs align with the ideology that every person has human rights, i.e. protection from severe political, social and legal abuses,” she said. “My mom was a social worker and worked for the social and economic protection of children. She would often come home and speak of the injustices and trauma that the children faced that she worked for. A lot of my ideology comes from her.”

However, even one’s beliefs can change as one grows older.

“I was told growing up that Republicans were the ones who didn’t care about the working class,” social studies teacher Jason Crago said. “It wasn’t until I went to college that I met all of these people with different backgrounds, and that was part of my political socialization. I then knew that not all Republicans were these bad people I was taught growing up.”

In addition to there being conservatives and liberals, there are also moderates. Moderates are those who feel conservative on certain issues and liberal on certain issues.

Social studies teacher Aaron Santa Maria said he is a moderate, who will normally determine election results in America. They are often times referred to as the “silent majority” and have a big say about who is in control of our nation.

“There are things I am more conservative about and things I am more liberal about,” Santa Maria said. “Throughout my life, I have obtained my ideology. There are fiscal things I am very conservative about, and social issues I am very liberal about.”

When one is thinking about his ideology, some prevalent issues are abortion and gun control, especially since school shootings have been in the news recently.

“I am all for the right to bear arms but wholly support the movement the media is calling common sense gun laws,” Conrad said.
Crago said he has similar thoughts about gun control.

“Ever since Columbine, guns have been an issue,” he said. “There is no place for assault weapons in the public. They have three main uses: in combat, to protect yourself from police force, and to kill as many people as possible in the fastest amount of time. While I believe in the Second

Amendment and your right to own a gun, I do not see a purpose of owning an assault rifle.”
Additionally, abortion is a hot topic.

“I consider myself to be pro choice because men can leave and never be seen again and never pay child support leaving the woman with that burden,” Crago said.

“I don’t think that men deciding on abortion is right for that reason.”

Mireles said, “I see the debate on abortion unnecessary. Every time political candidates come on TV, they feel the need to comment on something which is already law. A decision has already been made on that issue in the Supreme court case Roe v. Wade. Whether or not you agree with that decision is an entirely different issue. Let’s answer questions we don’t have answers to, not argue about ones we already do.”

All of the social studies teachers said they don’t really see a prevailing majority of liberals or conservatives among the staff at Shores.

Kurth said, “Among our staff, I see some of each. You can find staunch Democrats and Republicans. I think you’d be surprised by some. Not all are one way or the other.”

Something many politicians, all the way down to our own students at Shores do in political debates/arguments is that they struggle to see the perspective of the other person.

“I tell my students that no matter your viewpoint on any issue, try to see the other side,” Crago said. “I heard a quote a few days ago on 60 Minutes that I couldn’t agree more with: ‘Many people want to be understood, but very few people take the initiative to understand.’”

And through it all, teachers, specifically the social studies department at Shores, tries to give students the means to think for themselves.

“We embrace a wide range of views, and it’s our job as a staff to help foster conversations in which students and staff can learn from one another.” Conrad said.

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