Graphic by Sam Gamberg ’17/Staff
I have a good friend, whom we’ll call Steve throughout the course of this ar-ticle in order to maintain anonymity. Steve is a Republican and a supporter of President Trump, and he’s not scared of telling anyone that, which has led to peo-ple disliking him.
I disagree with Steve’s politics. I was a Hillary Clinton supporter and am a Democrat. I think a lot of the things that Trump has said and done are just flat out childish and ridiculous, and I do not be-lieve that he will make a good President. One of the very few things that I agree with him about is that America does need some fixing. Especially after the current election, America is split right down the middle, which is a big problem.
Seeing that Steve talks about Trump frequently, I thought it would be in-teresting if Steve had to side with the Democrats on political issues. So, a few months ago, before the election, I came up with the idea to switch political roles for one week; I did not think that Steve could survive as a Democrat, and I thought it would be pretty funny. Yet, I ended up learning much more than I thought I ever would. At first, Steve was a bit hesitant to make this switch but af-ter I told him that I would put ten dol-lars on it, Steve was all in.
1. You must support the candidate at all times, no matter how bad it may seem.
2. You may not make sarcastic com-ments. (Ex. “I just love how racist Trump is.”)
3. You MUST be vocal. If anybody asks, you support the opposite party.
4. You MAY NOT tell anybody that the bet is the reason you support the candidate.
This seemed simple enough; be a Trump supporter for one week. Man, oh man, how wrong I was. What made it especially difficult was that my friends, who knew about the bet, would do every-thing in their power to make me crack. “Hey Daniel, how can you support a presidential candidate who wants every person who is not native-born out of the country?” or, “How can you support a candidate who wants America to become isolationist?”
While my friends made this bet difficult, the hardest part by far came when we talked about Clinton and Trump in class discussions. Most of the class would say how much they loved Clinton and hated Trump. I longed to participate in these discussions by either stat-ing how I agreed with what they were saying, or expressing why I disagreed. However, due to the bet, I could not agree with what they were saying. And because almost everyone at LM is liberal, saying I disagree would make me immediately hated. I was unable to voice pro-Trump beliefs without fear of ridi-cule. And frankly, this is a problem: I lost the ability to speak my own opinion just because I was a Republican, which is ri-diculous. A school, which is supposed to be a place where anyone can voice their opinions, was prohibiting me from doing exactly that. This is not to say that the school itself and the administration are prohibiting this, but rather the students who attend the school. And personally, I understand why this problem is happening: the reality is that if you go to LM, then you’re probably a Democrat. People like to talk about topics of common interests. So if most of the school is liberal, then most of the school will be talking about Democratic views. Howev-er, the problem is not that most of the school believes in the values of Democrats. The problem is that people in our school don’t let others with viewpoints that differ from their own share what they think.
During the course of this bet, I learned something very important that I would never have thought: just because someone is a Trump supporter does not mean that they are wrong or a bad person. It’s just their viewpoint. And a Trump supporter should be able to say that they like Trump without everyone hating them immediately. People immediately scorn Trump supporters because there is a preconceived notion, in this school that if you’re a Trump supporter, then you’re a bad person and your viewpoints are wrong. Furthermore, people who didn’t already know me would think little of me because the only memory they would have of me was how I supported Trump.
Through all of this, I learned that we need to be more open to other view-points. We shouldn’t immediately shut other people down just because they disagree with us. Plus, at the end of the bet, I had ten more dollars in my pocket.