By Ariel McGee
It is no secret that Lewis & Clark is a predominantly liberal community, and for the most part, students seem content mingling among fellow leftists. Even though many students align with the Democratic Party, there are deviations among the specific ideologies of individual students. We have self-proclaimed socialists, democratic socialists and communists, but it would be extremely difficult to find a Republican within our campus.
LC is situated in an affluent neighborhood in Portland, among the most left-leaning cities in the country. We are college students who have not only decided to live in a liberal city, but to seclude ourselves within an even more liberal bubble.
It makes perfect sense to surround yourself with people who think like you and share the same beliefs. However, the point of having a liberal arts education is to receive a well-rounded education and learn how to think in creative ways. In my opinion, it is impossible to form an accurate perspective of the world, let alone how politics shape our country, without hearing from people on all sides of the spectrum.
We live in a country that elected Donald Trump into the White House, a man with no political experience and rhetoric centering around nationalism, hard immigration policy and decreased reliance on foreign trade. Many Americans feel they have been so let down by traditional politicians that they choose to ignore Trump’s inclination towards misogyny and racism.
Our country is divided, and our campus is part of the problem. Trump was elected because liberals and conservatives are unwilling to listen to each other. As a left-leaning college student, I believe that liberals and conservatives need to start listening to the concerns of one another.
Leftist speakers regularly visit campus, and every so often a conservative speaker will attempt to speak at LC. For a school that claims to value democratic pillars such as free speech, we are quite unwilling to receive these speakers with an open mind. In several instances, conservative speakers have been chased out of speaking halls before they even had the chance to make a case for themselves. LC students negatively use their right to protest whenever they disagree with the assumed beliefs and talking points of a speaker. Behavior like that is not representative of democracy at its best, and it does not promote education or free speech. It further divides the liberals from the conservatives.
Currently, LC has two clubs for liberal political activities, College Democrats and Young Democratic Socialists of America. They regularly coordinate events for students to hear from like-minded representatives and political thinkers, but often times they have very low turnout rates. However, whenever LC students hear that a “controversial” speaker will be visiting campus, they line up outside the event hall and protest as loudly as they can.
The liberal bubble of LC can make our community complacent. We assume that everyone has the same ideas as us, so there is less of a desire to attend political events that relate to us, and we become polarized whenever there is the slightest indication that someone might be disagreeing with the liberal ideology that we so valiantly promote.