Feelings trump free thought

Audrey Bartholomew, Staff Writer

In a predominantly upper-middle class, suburban high school, it has never been more important to talk about politics, the normalization of hate, and everything that makes us human instead of alien to each-other.

Last summer, white nationalist riots rocked the town of Charlottesville, Virginia. Ending in the death of three counter protesters, President Donald Trump condemned the left to meet his alt-right supporters in the middle.

I talked about this in my Advanced Placement United States History class one time for about 5 seconds (by the most liberal of estimates) on the first day of school. Never again. With a political climate as polarized and dangerous as this one, I hoped that this would be a gateway into discussion.

Whether the country is burning or not, that by no means should allow for our ability to challenge, discuss, and understand each other’s beliefs to be silenced out of fear to disagree.

Last fall, when Trump was elected, I was told by another teacher that sure, I have the right to free speech and everything, but stop talking about the election. Tell me that today, I would have laughed in her face. If you do not like what I have to say, tell me why, or else you run the risk of having a completely irrelevant opinion.

If North Korea decides to decimate us into oblivion tomorrow, do the same rules apply? Should I duct-tape my mouth in the fallout shelter? If that does not make you angry, I do not know what will.

I am making it known that America has a dire empathy problem. That is how it always has been. Make America Great Again. Kill progress where it stands.

But why endorse participating in these kinds of conversations in school? Some will argue it is not the place, it is better to avoid acrimonious arguments, let kids be kids and leave the political rhetoric at home.

I would ask those who disagree with me, what are we in school for if not to grow? What are our parent’s tax-payer dollars going towards? Algebra II? Spanish 4? Ignorance 101?

Learning everything you need to know about the frontal lobe and Neolithic revolution do absolutely nothing to maturate college-ready students. If Baltimore County Public Schools and Dulaney are so dedicated to churning out well-rounded, globally competitive students, then add this to your plate.

With all of the technology shoved into our classrooms instead of clean water and air conditioning, you would think we would be actively dissecting and participating in the world around us. Not so much.

Art by Audrey Houghton