Palo Alto High School students offered diverse opinions on the recent spike in political discourse and activism that the community has seen.
Many students are shocked and confused by the election of Trump due to numerous of polls which predicted a Democratic victory. Some believe that the reason for America’s polarized stances and subsequent discontent can be attributed to a lack of political discussion prior to the election year.
“Definitely get more involved in politics, whether it’s on the big scale or the small scale,” said senior Andy Chang, a self-proclaimed libertarian. “I don’t think people are doing that enough. Talk to your parents and friends, vote, and you can also donate to organizations you support.”
Many believe in the right to protest, and trust that it is an effective way to allow opinions to be heard. However, some see demonstrations as too violent.
“Some of these protests have turned violent, like in Seattle,” said senior Blaine Williams. “I think that’s just childish and needs to end. I know he lost the popular [vote] but he campaigned for the electoral [vote] and won that so there’s no need to protest that.”
“Definitely get more involved in politics, whether it’s on the big scale or the small scale.”
Students at Paly worry that Trump will enact regressive policies and nominate conservative extremists for the Supreme Court, blocking progressive social movement.
“I don’t think he stands for what America represents: freedom, liberty and human rights,” said junior Julianna Roth. “I just really hope he doesn’t appoint justices that reflect those views.”
However, despite the widespread apprehension about Trump’s election, some students remain hopeful that the American people and the Republican Party will help prevent any overly radical proposals. Others are skeptical about Trump’s agenda and hope that his radical rhetoric during the campaign was just in an attempt to gain supporters.
“We have to accept Donald Trump as our President, but we should also [monitor him] really closely,” Chang said. “Trump’s pick to be his top advisor in the White House is extremely conservative and extremes are really dangerous and we don’t want that in the White House.”
“I think for the most part, he is going to align with the traditional Republican agenda,” senior Celia Morell said. “I feel like I can find comfort in knowing that he’s gonna have to become more moderate in some way. I think there are a few campaign promises that he won’t be able to follow through with.”
On the other hand, some Paly students are genuinely excited for Trump’s presidency.
“He is a great Republican candidate when it comes to gays,” Williams said. “He is the first presidential candidate going into office supporting gay marriage. I also believe he’s gonna take us in the right step with foreign policy because China and Russia both said that they were looking to better relationships with the United States when Trump is in office.”
Williams believes that with a Trump presidency, economic progress will be made, but to the detriment of a few progressive social stances and beliefs.
“There’s gonna be some social things that we’ll regress on, which I feel bad about, but I believe we’ll go back the [progressive] way in a couple years,” Williams said.
While a resounding number of students did not follow the local elections and Californian propositions, a common theme was their neutral stance toward the legalization of marijuana.
“Even though I don’t support smoking marijuana, I’m okay with people doing it in their homes or whatnot,” senior James Ngo said.
“I don’t really have a big opinion about it,” junior Darby Felter said. “I’m not super for it or super against it. It definitely seems like it’ll help out the older population, as well as the younger population, in getting something that was previously illegal.”