Hidden in the Walls

Garfield conservatives speak up.

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Hidden in the Walls

Josh Chestnut

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In Seattle, a total of 8% of registered voters voted for Donald Trump in November of 2016. In comparison to the large cities in the U.S. this number is incredibly low, effectively creating an environment dominated by liberals. This same environment can be found within the historic purple and white covered walls that lay the foundation for one of the most racially diverse schools in the state.

But what Garfield has in racial diversity, it lacks in political diversity found in the general liberal consensus shared by the students and staff. What this does is puts conservatives at an obvious minority and forces them to face the difficult decision of whether to stand strong in their beliefs or to keep their opinions to themselves.

One anonymous student, *John a senior at Garfield, identifies  as  a  conservative.  After recently moving from a conservative state, John has been faced with this very issue.

“I would describe my political beliefs as center to right wing. I am pro abortion and women’s rights but stand with Trump’s policies in regards to gun control and taxes,“ said John. “[If I could vote] I would have voted for Trump because I had issues with Hillary.”

However, this student claims he is often forced to choose whether to express his own opinions based on the people that he’s around in the school.

“It depends on the person of whether I voice my political opinion. I have noticed that the best way to have or keep friends is by keeping my political beliefs to myself. In general, I can filter myself well,” said John.

Additionally, a whole new culture with an emphasis on political correctness has emerged through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

“I generally stay away from the drama in the media, but I have noticed how others talk differently on Twitter, specifically at Garfield,” said John. “It’s not scary, just different [than talking in person] and I’d rather talk to someone face to face, it’s more civil.”

Unlike John, Garfield junior Ryan Browning is unafraid to speak up about his conservative beliefs in his conservative beliefs.

“If someone approaches me and asks if I support Trump then I will say I do and that I support some of his policies. In general I am very open to talk about it with people, but no one [brings it up],” said Browning.

The impact of being politically different does have an effect on the way conservatives are treated and viewed.

“A lot of people are fine with [me being conservative] but others actually look at me differently and form stereotypes without knowing me,” said Browning.

Another anonymous student, *Lisa, a junior at Garfield often feels defensive due to the connotations of being conservative put on by the Garfield students.

“Students at Garfield and Seattle in general automatically link racism and sexism with being conservative, but this is really incorrect most of the time,” said Lisa. “I’m not a racist or a sexist person, so when I want to give my opinion on something I usually retract it.”

At Garfield, the reality is that the majority of the teachers are liberal and this leads to the possibility of it coming off in their teaching.

“I think it affects all students because it is important to learn both sides of the story, although it doesn’t affect me specifically because I stand strong in my beliefs,” said Lisa.

In a school that preaches diversity and student expression, a crucial part of our population’s opinion is restricted based on a negative stigma and hostility in general towards conservatives by liberals. The fact that anonymity was requested by conservative students in this article just goes to prove how many conservatives feel their voices are respected at Garfield.

*Student names have been changed

 

Art by Ariel Cook

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