Vikings discuss Trump’s America

Breanna de Vera, Staff Writer

Galvanized by the recent election, students have come together to create a new open forum, a safe space for all political ideals and beliefs to be shared, especially in terms of the future of our country under president-elect Donald Trump. Seniors Ahir Datta, Owen Shen, Humza Khan, and Ryan Doolittle coordinated this unnamed group, and they have met twice so far. Multiple history teachers, including Ms. Chang and Ms. Byrne, moderated and observed the meetings.

“I’m a little aggravated because I thought we would actually be doing things,” Ms. Byrne said, “but it seems like after that one discussion, everything just kind of fell off. I’m bummed that more action hasn’t taken place, especially since this is something that people are truly passionate about.”
The first few meetings were held mainly to discuss the thoughts, feelings, hopes, and fears right after the election. Students went around the circle, and shared their reasons for coming and how they felt after the election.

Senior Paul Tang prefaced his discussion in the second meeting by acknowledging his support of the Republican Party in the previous issue of the Voice. He is uncertain about the diversity this group can provide, due to the mainly liberal views of our area.

“It was a safe space, mostly,” Tang said. “But it was very liberal. If someone were to go in as a hard right, they’d be the only one there. But only then can you really say it is a safe space.”

But others are more hopeful about the free sharing of ideas. Jacob Parsons attributes this to the presence of moderating individuals.

“The people there for the most part didn’t just throw out harsh claims or spread ridiculous propaganda,” Parsons said. “They actually supported their claims and were able to articulate and explain how they felt and why.”

Owen Shen said that this discussion group may meet weekly, and is planning a presentation in the cafeteria during advisories to help publicize to those interested.
“I’m interested in reducing uncertainty about the future and teaching people to see other viewpoints, to understand and move away from identity politics, and overcome mental aversions to the other side,” Shen said. “It’s not us. vs. them. It’s humans, with different histories and backgrounds, trying to do their best.”
Beyond the presidential election, the group hopes to touch on all aspects of politics, as well as the part most of us play as nonvoters due to age. However, Ms. Byrne said that the initial unrest following the election has died down.
“I’ve placed a few posters outside for people to write their thoughts down,” Ms. Byrne said. “It seems like people were really angry the day after and a couple of days after, but when the the weekend hit, nothing happened afterwards. I would like for something to happen, and I’d like it to be student-led if this is something that’s still affecting them.”