Republicans at Windward

By Peter Gebriel (Former World & U.S. Editor, Former Columnist) [?]

Published: December 2, 2008 and Updated: December 27, 2008
Reprinted From The Windward Bridge

Windward is a liberal campus. A very liberal campus. While Windward may not be on par with college campuses like Bard or Wesleyan, one can say with complete confidence that Democrats outnumber Republicans. So, how must it feel to be an outsider, especially in high school where conformity is usually key to survival?

Well, according to some of the few Republicans I interviewed, the Windward- Republican experience "is far from fun."

The greatest source of frustration for student Republicans is the open discrimination they face, an insult to Windward's policy of tolerance. The student Republicans with whom I spoke feel they can rarely even express their opinions in classroom discussions, an occurrence which I have seen for myself on several occasions. "I have been called a flaming racist, a homophobe, sexist and other names in class," said one Republican student who wished to remain nameless.

“In the classroom, I feel that if I were to speak I would be shot down or laughed at. As a voter in the 2008 election, I know that at the polls I will feel a sense of liberation, because I will be able to express my views without condemnation. Though California is a highly liberal state, and my vote may not count for much, I know that I will make a difference in the voting process,” said senior Evan Sawyer.

Republicans have always been a small but vocal group on campus, contrasting with the artsy, hippy vibe that has characterized Windward. The presence of open Republicans first appeared on campus when the Young Political Forum was founded at Windward. Founded by Evan Sawyer ’09 and Jacob Miller ’07, this group was a safe haven for students of all political views to express their opinions, but it gained the reputation of being highly conservative. This wrongly characterized reputation led to the downfall of the group. After ’07 members graduated, politically zealous students, Democrats and Rublicans alike feared joining the group, because they saw it as purely Republican. The Republicans were once again lost and leaderless. Despite Sawyer’s attempts to restart the Young Political Forum, he has not found a substantial following of political enthusiasts.

Attacks against Republicans have reached a high point this year due to the intense nature of the presidential election. The vandalism of a Republican's McCain sticker on campus has certainly opened the eyes of many to the plight of right-leaning students.

Even though I am a Democrat, I stand by Voltaire's famous statement: "I do not agree with a word that you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." It is time we Windward Democrats realize that we have not given our Republican peers the treatment they deserve. We need to listen to our candidate; it's time for change.

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