We live in a “reliably blue state”, according to “The New York Times.” Being a “blue state” means that more people voted for the Democratic party than otherwise, and in the United States, Democrats generally hold more socially liberal views.
Likewise, our school is “blue.” In the State of the Academy, 48 percent of surveyed students were liberal, compared to 16 percent responding conservative. This inequality contributes to a situation where Andover enjoys racial, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic diversity, but lacks political diversity. We are a school that provides space for liberal views, but not others.
Coming from Beijing, China, I knew nothing about American politics before attending Andover. There isn’t an overwhelming political climate — although many students hold political opinions, they are seldom enthusiastic to discuss their political standing with others. It might be that because the majority of political opinions on campus seem to be liberal, people holding other political beliefs are intimidated and pressured not to express their views. Here, almost all the political views I have been exposed to are liberal. Therefore, I have gradually acquired an inclination towards supporting liberal ideals and the Democratic party.
The morning after the 2016 presidential election results were announced, I remember the majority of the community being emotionally distraught. It felt like the result of the election was a catastrophe. We were called to an impromptu all school meeting where the outcome of the election was addressed. While it was a message that many upset students appreciated, others criticised the partisan stance. They believed that the school could have been more inclusive by taking a more neutralized standpoint. Throughout the day, most of the teachers in my classes put the outcome of the election under a negative light. This is just one example where the political opinions expressed felt especially one-sided and homogenous.
The outcry on campus against Trump has not died down. When the Trump administration announced plans to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a student run club, Out of the Blue, organized a community “blackout” where community members dressed in all black and held a phone-a-thon, encouraging students to call their government representatives advocating against the Trump administration’s decision in solidarity with those affected by the the rescinding of the act. While I don’t disagree with their opinions, in allowing movements such as these, the school is indirectly siding with one political party or ideology.
Although the community is constantly working towards becoming more balanced and inclusive, living in the “Andover bubble” has isolated a select group of people and political views on our campus. In order to be an inclusive community, our community must neutral when addressing issues relating to politics. A lot of the times, only the efforts of one political party is publicized. Students should hear about the other side of the question, and the actions of both political parties.
Because Andover is geared towards preparing us for the real world, we must welcome clashing political views, whether they are expressed inside or outside of our community. It is important that we push ourselves past the “blue bubble” and cultivate political opinions for ourselves.
Skylar Xu is a two-year Lower from Beijing, China.