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Letter to the Editor: School lacks tolerance for non-liberal viewpoints

Dear Editor,

I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts about the political climate at Newton North. I would first like to argue that Newton North is, in fact, very narrow minded in its acceptance of differing political views.

I believe it is accepting of all liberal political views, but the buck pretty much stops there. When I first arrived at Newton North in September 2012, I had just come from the pretty conservative state of Arkansas, so I was used to hearing very different things. At North, everyone
appeared to be as they claimed: “open-minded” and “accepting.” But, later, I found out this was because I had just decided to go with the flow and just kind of “absorb” whatever their politics were in an effort to “fit in.”

In hindsight, I probably should have just been honest. As I spent more time at North and started forming my own ideas and opinions on American political issues, people would often become flippant or even hostile towards my libertarian-leaning political views. It was very annoying and hypocritical that these very people preached acceptance and open-mindedness and yet shut down whatever views opposed their own.

For example, a classmate and I were once debating whether private gun ownership has a place in America, and the issue of whether or not the second amendment actually does guarantee the right to private firearm ownership. Specifically, in this debate, we had gotten into the specifics of the extent of what the second amendment protects and guarantees. In an effort to solidify and prove my case that the amendment protects private firearm ownership, I cited a 2008 Supreme Court case. I cited this ruling, expecting my classmate to rebut with a disagreement and an explanation of why, in their opinion, the court was wrong. Instead I got a response of: “Well, this was the same Supreme Court that upheld ‘separate but equal’ and guess what, it’s been statistically proven that Democrats are smarter than Republicans, so your argument is wrong.”

I was absolutely appalled at the response because everything she stated was incorrect. That kind of outburst is exactly what is wrong with our political system and is leading to polarization and the hindering of any political process in this country.

The same bipartisan conflict is present at this school and can be avoided with a higher tolerance for political minorities and independent political thinkers, such as myself.

—Patrick Serven ’14

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