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Keeping an open mind for the open future

Josh Sonnenberg

As election day approaches, we must remember that the political and social climate in today’s world is loud enough. With CNN and Fox News playing on televisions in living rooms everywhere, people giving their unsolicited political opinions online and constant political debates between friends, it gets to be overwhelming to create your own political opinions. We at the Tower believe that everyone should form their own individual thoughts on political issues before subscribing to anyone else’s.

Everyone comes from different backgrounds, and this is reflected in our political stances. As high schoolers, we can all see where our parents have influenced our opinions, from our current thoughts on international wars, or our local school board elections. A 2019 study done by Pew Research Center found that 81 percent of children between the ages of 13-17 followed their parents’ political footsteps. Another study done by Pew Research Center in 2022 said that 35 percent of parents think it is very important to them that their children share their political opinions. These can be daunting statistics to children looking to understand the other side of the aisle.

Political associations should not be something handed down the bloodline, but should be questioned every generation through what the current political scene is like. Political approaches that worked yesterday, may not work tomorrow. It is important to ask yourself the hard hitting questions of what you truly believe is “right”. And if you don’t think you know yet, that is okay too. Continue educating yourself.

At South, the range of economics, history and English language classes offered will help you create new perspectives on life. Learning what has been done in the past can help one make decisions on what can be done in the future. As we are all finding out who we are as humans, what we want to do and how we want to impact the world, we must look inwards to find where we stand on political issues.

Younger generations standing up for what they believe has been happening for decades. Think of the Children’s Crusade of 1963, when hundreds of school age children marched in the streets eventually getting arrested for supporting the civil rights movement without their parents’ support. Just imagine the courage they had. Or students in Des Moines, Iowa who protested for peace during the Vietnam War. Just imagine the persistence they had. As young people we have a voice, and this has stayed true through time. It is something that is powerful and should be heard, not hidden.

With new issues erupting in the world every day, we must stay diligent and continue to form our own beliefs. Social media only makes this harder. With hundreds of thousands of people telling us what they think, and political news outlets trying to sway readers’ opinions, it is difficult not to fall into the trap. You must stick to what you believe, but keep an open mind. Listen to what other perspectives are on issues, then assess your beliefs. Continue questioning your beliefs and how they may affect other people.

We at the Tower believe that we are going to be tomorrow’s leaders. We must learn for ourselves what we value and what we want to accomplish.

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