SARA BUCHWALD (GRADE 11)
“I wouldn’t want to sit with them at lunch, anyway. They’re Republicans,” I heard someone hiss at lunch a while ago. My immediate response was first to cringe inwardly and then to look over at my friend whose parents tend to lean Republican. At Newton North, where in a mock election 73% of the student body voted for Hillary Clinton as president, and a mere 13% voted for Donald Trump, there is a clear difference between our community and the rest of the country. Newton is widely considered an extremely liberal town, even in the blue state of Massachusetts. During the election, Clinton-Kaine campaign signs littered the neatly trimmed lawns of most neighborhoods, rarely a Trump-Pence sign in sight. Although the Trump win came as a shock to many, it was even more so in Newton. It was hard to believe that our heavily Clinton-favored town was such a poor representation of the entire nation. But even as democratic as Newton is, like most liberal towns, we still have our fair share of Republicans.
Our community is filled with parents who work in white-collar jobs such as lawyers, economists, and doctors, professions that are largely affected by the government. Newton parents political involvedness has heavily influenced their children, especially in a high school setting where teens are more educated on the current political climate than in other parts of the country.
The result of this is an extremely hostile environment during election season. Instead of lunch time and hallway conversations being about who likes who or how hard a test was, the exchanges are generally politically charged and even more commonly, are in opposition to Republicans, especially president elect Donald Trump. To the 73% percent of this school who lean Democratic, this poses no immediate problems. But, more and more commonly, conversations stray from the hate of Donald Trump or Republicans, to the hate of those who support Donald Trump or Republicans.
Ever since discovering that one of my friends had parents who lean Republican, in intense contrast to the view of the majority of my friends, I have felt extremely sensitive to the aversion towards Republicans that is commonly brought up in conversation. When people speak in a hostile manner about Republicans, they forget that they’re speaking about more than a political view, they’re speaking about a person. A person who is someone’s friend, hero, inspiration, or in the case of my friend, parent. It makes me uncomfortable to hear someone say they hate Republicans. I can’t even imagine how my friend might feel when people talk about how Republicans are terrible people, when their parents have sacrificed their entire lives to love, support, and care for them. It is important to remember that Republican, or even Democrat or Independent, is just an adjective, and that a person is made up of many adjectives: caring, intelligent, brave, funny AND Republican. It is perfectly alright to disagree with certain politics, but next time you go to say you hate everyone in a certain political group, consider that their political affiliations are only a part of who they are.