The School Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy

The Wildcat Roar

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With Love From, The Liberal

What six years of being in the minority of thought has taught me.

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My name is Katherine Yenzer, and I am a liberal. While in most environments, this wouldn’t be newsworthy, in a place like Westminster, my political views are in the minority of thought. I have spent the past six years surrounded by people who disagree with me on most issues, and this is something I am extremely grateful for.

Don’t get me wrong, the past six years have been extremely difficult. Because of my beliefs, people often make assumptions about me and how I feel. They assume that I don’t understand the economy. They assume that I am offended easily. They assume that I don’t believe in God. None of these are true, but because of my “liberal” label, people feel like they already know me before they meet me.

When I begin to share my thoughts in class, I can feel people tuning me out. They think they know what I’m going to say, so they stop listening. If they listened, they would probably find that there are actually some issues we agree upon. They may even begin to understand why I have the opinions that I do. Listening instead of assuming is the first step to developing fruitful and civil discussions with others.

The moment we start to ignore our own assumptions and views of others, we can begin to communicate with those who are completely different than us. Diversity of thought isn’t something that should be avoided, it should be embraced. Over the years I have had so many great discussions with teacher and students whom are completely opposed to my belief system. Through conversation, I am able to better understand the views of others. With understanding comes acceptance.

While my own views have not changed over the years, and I have not changed the views of others, I have learned more about myself and others. I have grown stronger in my own opinions while learning to relate to people who do not agree with me. When I talk to someone who agrees with me completely, it is far less beneficial. If I was constantly surrounded by people who agree with me, I would become lazy in my arguments and would grow arrogant in my own beliefs.

Being in the minority of thought has been a challenge, but being in the majority of thought is dangerous. It is easy to begin to resent people who disagree with you and begin to think that your opinions are the only true and right ones. This mindset can create hostility towards those who dare to challenge your opinions, and civil discourse and conversations cease.  

Seniors, soon we will all be going off to college. For many of you, you will find yourselves in the minority of thought. Odds are, the next four years of my life will be spent in an environment full of people who agree with me. Odds are, you will find yourself surrounded by people who disagree with you. We must not make the mistakes so many people often do. I must remain humble in my beliefs and continue to seek out ideas that challenge me. You must work to understand those who think differently than you and remain positive in the face of hostility and incorrect assumptions.

We must keep civil discourse alive and well. We must learn to understand other people, and with understanding will come respect. At the end of the day, we’re all imperfect humans. There will be times that we make assumptions about others, grow hostile towards those who disagree with us, or become arrogant in our own views. However, we must do our best to embrace diversity of thought and love each other well, even if it’s from across the aisle.

Westminster has taught me how to communicate with people who passionately oppose my opinions. I have learned to civilly portray my ideas and how to respond to criticism and critique of my thought. I am often asked my more liberal friends if I wished that I went to school at a less conservative institution. The answer is no, no I don’t.

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The School Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy
With Love From, The Liberal