I have always been a person who asks questions. In kindergarten, I dared to ask one of my peers how she could be so firm in her belief in the literal truth of the Bible. She was retelling the story of Moses parting the Red Sea when I interrupted her and questioned her faith. “How do you know?” I asked simply. Of course, back then my inquiry was not based on well-formulated logic or complicated reasoning, but I’ve always had a natural skepticism of the intangible—a feeling of uneasiness with accepting the narrative advanced by sources of power. I’ve always been interested in the other side of the story—the story that is not being heard in the mainstream.
In my high school, the mainstream perspective was a particularly rotten strand of elitist Republicanism. Many students at my high school were only interested in protecting themselves and their financial future, looking down on the average working class American, and resenting all attempts to improve the lives of the poor. At the same time, students would spend lavish sums of money on clothing, clubbing, and Ubers. Social distinctions were merely a function of the wealth of one’s parents and the elegance of one’s apartment. In this environment, I grew frustrated by the social scene and increasingly found myself drawn to leftist politics.
I knew that taxes were certainly too low when rich kids could afford to spend $10,000 at a club on Saturday night or when wealthy parents would let their kids take a trip to Europe every week. I began to watch online progressive media like The Young Turks YouTube channel as a source of news. Elizabeth Warren and then rising star Bernie Sanders were my voices of reason.
When I arrived at Colby, this all changed. In an environment booming with liberal voices, my voice was drowned out by a loud and angry contingent of students who seemed to do more complaining than problem solving. Some students preferred to nit-pick so called “micro-aggressions” and fight over symbols of oppression instead of advocating for specific reforms that would improve people’s lives. Then there was another group of students who aligned with me politically but were unwilling to stand up for their dying brand of politics. Which brings me to where I am today: in an underrepresented middle that believes virtues can be found on both sides of the aisle.
Many will accuse me of “playing it safe.” They will conflate my position of moderation with one of neutrality and inaction. But I have and will continue to speak out passionately about the issues that matter to me in this election and will challenge all ideas that I disagree with—not just those of the right. For all of my fellow students who do not consider themselves to be a Democrat or Republican, Libertarian or Socialist, you have a voice and it must be heard. A nuanced perspective should be cherished, not silenced.