Political Thought Club hopes to promote political awareness in school

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Political Thought Club hopes to promote political awareness in school

Drew Hanson, Co-editor

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As Americans we have many rights guaranteed to us in the constitution, but perhaps the most important one is the right to vote. Voting is the foundation of democracies, and democracies, where people rule, produce  the happiest, freeist, and most prosperous people in the world.

However, in our country, voting is greatly flawed. Democracies assume that people are able to determine who is the best candidate. However, studies show that our people aren’t educated enough to recognize what’s best for them. In fact, Mato Nagel, a sociologist from Germany, worked together with researchers from Cornell University and determined that the only advantage democracies have over dictatorships is that they “effectively prevent lower than average candidates from being elected.”

Using a complex simulation, Nagel found that the best leaders are rarely ever elected, and in most cases the said leader is generally just average overall.

Assuming Nagel is correct, is this what we want? Do we want just average leaders? If not, it’s incredibly important we educate ourselves, and do it young. That is exactly the goal of a revived  club at Southeast — current political thought, or CPT for short. After the 2016 school year, CPT ceased to exist. This fall, Cade Cooper and I decided to give it a revival. 

Previously the club was sponsored by Mr. Todd Baird, but Mrs. Tammy Streit has now taken it under her wing. Meetings are hosted on days that  no other club meetings take place during seminar.

To date, the club has hosted two meetings,  an introductory meeting that included a confederate flag debate and the most recent meeting, which focused on gun legislation. 

“We talked about guns because we knew it would get a good turnout, and it’s a very relevant topic right now,” Cooper said. 

Over 30 people attended, and some had to sit on the floor for lack of desks. 

The club is bi-partisan, with close to an equal number of self-identified liberals and conservatives. 

With bi-partisanship comes heated debate. 

“The gun control debate was quite intense,” Cooper said. “There was a strict line over what would work better — arming teachers and making access to guns easier, or having stricter gun control laws,” he said. 

Although debates can be heated, that does not mean participants can’t still be friends. Intelligent conversations are not a bad thing. Some people say not to bring up politics in school conversations; however, Cooper says he was surprised by the civility of the meeting.

 “Whenever people started talking over each other, we quickly reigned it back in and started taking it one at a time,” he said. 

The purpose of school is to prepare us to be good citizens, and that should absolutely include being educated on the issues that influence how we vote.

This is why I strongly encourage everyone to attend CPT meetings. Learning about, discussing, and debating current events in a respectful environment will help us all become better citizens to lead America’s future.