By Maria Ashby '19
WHAT: A coed club that partakes in coffee and donuts and judgement-free casual political discourse
WHERE: Hearst Alumni Parlor
WHO IS INVITED: Everyone!!
Imagine yourself on an ordinary weekday evening. It’s 9:47, you’ve finished(or tried to finish) your homework and you find yourself scrolling through your Instagram feed. After passing through a seemly endless stream of birthday posts and VSCO filters, you stumble upon a post with almost a hundred comments. You delve into the comments, and find yourself in the middle of a political battlefield. Scathing remarks and insults are tossed back and forth between Upper School students like a ball in a tennis match. All the while being fueled by miscommunications and preformed assumptions.
Well to set the story straight, that wasn’t exactly an imaginary example. This event actually took place in the fall of last year after the results of the election. Ever since, it feels like all of America and the Close have been strictly divided into two political factions, Liberal and Conservative. Even Government Club, shrouded in years of traditional civil debate, frequently devolves into a battle between the left and the right rather than a place to relevant political topics. In past ten months, I have seen friendships end and students isolated and mischaracterized because of this divide.
But now that I am an upperclassman, I have to take a stand on the matter. I created Politics and Coffee to bridge the partisan split on the Close. Politics and Coffee is space where students of all viewpoints can discuss current events without fear of judgement. The institution of not passing judgement during meetings is vital, because in this day and age most people are very quick to make judgements without hearing the context surrounding a statement. I also believe that is invaluable because high school is a very important time in the development of our political ideals and values. Rather than, “winning” an argument against an individual or a group, the goal of cyclical discussions is to learn and grow from listening to other people’s opinions and life experiences with context. I hope that through Politics and Coffee, we can bring an end to Instagram comment wars and bring more unity to the Close community.