Watching people talk about politics in 2019 often feels like watching a heated rivalry between two crowds cheering for opposite sports teams – but it’s not friendly competition. Bickering, fighting, and attacking one another, people are overly devoted to their chosen team to the point that they belittle and demonize other fans.
The Scroll Editorial Board believes that perhaps the largest group of people, however, may be the indifferent crowd – and this must change. This trend is particularly clear at Deerfield, where students live in a bubble clearly separating them from the outside world.
It’s not exactly reasonable to expect every ninth-grader, who can be as young as 13 or 14, to enter Deerfield with a nuanced and well-informed viewpoint on every single domestic and international political issue. However, we should realize that most of our parents influence our political views to some degree as we grow up; whether we end up embracing them or despising them, there’s no doubt it weighs on our minds.
Our time at Deerfield is an ideal period in our lives to begin questioning these views and to develop independent opinions. The Scroll Board encourages every Deerfield community member to back up their political views with strong evidence and logic. Following the news allows us to better articulate and support our views instead of merely following someone else’s opinions.
We also acknowledge that being able to not pay attention to the news is a privilege. Some people must pay attention to the news because it directly impacts parts of their identities – think of children whose parents are coal miners, working in a declining industry, or think of children who fled the Syrian civil war for safety. Their well-being depends on being informed and learning about shifting dynamics in the political climate.
Fortunately, it is not difficult to start engaging with current events and various news outlets. We’re especially thankful that the Boyden Library granted members of the Deerfield community complete access to The New York Times (digital), The Wall Street Journal, The Greenfield Recorder, The Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton), and The Republican (Springfield). The Scroll Editorial Board has definitely benefited from the wealth of resources available from these newspapers; in the past, a paywall prevented us from accessing more than just a few free articles.
Finally, interacting with students, faculty, and staff around campus can lead to great discussions. Deerfield students hail from 38 countries and 38 states, and every one of us has valuable experiences and perspectives to share. This diversity of the student body provides opportunities to explore complex topics about American news and international affairs, about which people may not know much.
The Scroll Editorial Board hopes that by learning how to present effective arguments backed up by current events, we will be equipped with skills to succeed not only in the classroom but also as an engaged citizen in the world after leaving Deerfield.