Alex Cho ‘23 News Reporter
In a world characterized by an extremely divided political climate, students at Mercersburg can only look outward with apprehension and uneasiness. Never in our lives have we thought that our political leanings could define us all as individuals.
In the midst of this great social uncertainty, Mercersburg offers two clubs with very different ideologies: the Democratic Party Club and the Conservative Club. Despite their differing views on many issues, the two clubs aim to promote civil and meaningful political discussions, spread awareness about their parties and politics in general, and advocate for their beliefs.
Carina Cole ‘22, the founder and president of the Democratic Party Club, said, “I founded the club this year to raise awareness and registration for this year’s election, even though I can’t vote myself. So far this year we have had meetings discussing Joe Biden and the Democratic Party’s policies. We also hosted the debate screening, which we thought would be a fun activity where students could get involved in politics while also having fun and hanging out with their friends.”
Cole has been putting significant emphasis on how students can and should be involved in her club and politics in general. She adds, “I’ve had many students express interest to join my club to learn more about politics because they have said they don’t know much about politics and want to learn more. We’re all still so young and have a lot to learn, but if we work together we can educate ourselves and others and form our own viewpoints. I’ve tried to have conversations in and out of the club to encourage students to get involved in politics and the election because our future depends on it. Even though many students are not old enough to vote yet it’s important to start getting involved with politics now so when it is time for those students to vote they will have established some of their opinions and know-how to have conversations with others about politics. I’ve also encouraged the members of my club to tell their family and friends to vote.”
However, these clubs are not just another political faction students can join to discuss the worthiness of their values and discredit the other side – they realize the importance of working together and the necessity of respect. Rose Potter, the President of the Conservative Club said, “The Conservative Club has been mostly active this fall in conjunction with the Democrats for America Club and with Addie Geitner in order to push a non-partisan effort to vote!”
Additionally, Cole added, “My experience of planning events has been based on communicating with other club leaders to put aside our political values for the moment to work together to create non-partisan events where students of any political party/ideologies can come together and have fun while learning. It’s been great working with the Conservative club, even though we have different viewpoints. We work together well because we all care about our clubs and want to strengthen them and spread awareness for our clubs. We all put in a lot of effort and help each other out when needed.”
Despite the endless media reports on politics, Potter realized the difficulty in managing a high school club. “Unfortunately since eligible voters on campus are a minority, we didn’t see high attendance for our activities planned to help people get registered,” she replied. Nevertheless, both clubs agreed on the significance of student involvement. Cole once again emphasized,“It’s so important to join a political club in high school to form your own viewpoint and decide which ideas you align with so when it comes time to vote or speak your opinion and make a change, you will already have an idea of the policies you agree with.”
Politics is tying for top billing in the news today, and Mercersburg is not missing out. The community has constantly reminded us of the importance of this remarkable election year through school meetings, panels with guest speakers, and clubs. For us to maximize our experience in the political world and to be aware of its ever-changing dynamics in the meantime, Mercersburg has two very unique clubs that are open to anyone.