South students share varying political views

Erica Gelman, staff writer

Teen years, a time frame of aging in which humans begin to develop their own viewpoints, gain and build upon their voices. This is evident at South. Mixed within the hundreds of students is a melting pot of different, thriving political views.

This can be seen in junior Angelo Nickele, liberal; sophomore Victor Abraham*, centrist; and senior Michael Cooper, conservative.

Conservatives are more traditional in their values. Although Cooper doesn’t consider himself to be a complete conservative, he does demonstrate conservative ideology.

“On a scale of ten I’m probably like a six or a seven towards the right side, maybe a little more,” Cooper said.

Government and its role is a prominent issue in politics regardless of stance, according to Cooper. Cooper, for instance, believes that the government should stay out of the affairs of its people.

“As any conservative will tell you, they want a smaller government, because as you can tell with any company or anything like that, smaller is easier to run, so we get more and more spread out with more services that we offer,” Cooper said. “So bringing down government in size allows for more growth ability and more stabilization. But I don’t think it should have much say in personal lives […] people are free to do what they want.”

Abraham, believes that the government shouldn’t be too powerful or too weak to preserve freedom but retain the power to make executive decisions.

“It shouldn’t be too powerful, because then it would exert too much influence and remove people’s freedom, but it shouldn’t be too without [power to be] able to do anything,” Abraham said. “There are some things like public schools and police force it needs to be able to [regulate], but other than those essential things, it probably shouldn’t get too involved in the economy and things like that. It can be like a safety net for the poor so that there is no hunger or starvation.”

The above views–Cooper’s in particular– contrast directly with Nickele, far left on the spectrum. Looking towards a more free-form system, the government should collaborate directly with the people, according to Nickele.

“I think that the government and the people of the country should not be two separate things, and I think the people should be the government […] so that the government would have the extent of the power that everyone has over themselves individually, just in a collective manner,” Nickele said.

According to Nickele, he believes that his views are not entirely unique compared to his peers at South.

“I think there’s a lot of other people who share certain sections of my viewpoints, but there’s not a lot of people who share the entirety of it,” Nickele said. “And then for family, my parent’s agree with me on most things but [disagree] with more idealistic ends of my beliefs.”

Often, criticism towards those on the far left of the spectrum centers around the supposed idealism and utopian beliefs that many believe the far left hold. Nickele, however, believes this is not the case.

“I think that the difference between something being unable to be achieved is just you deciding that you can’t achieve it,” Nickele said. “Because I think that it may appear utopian, but there might be different problems in the future, and while it may seem utopian, it will not be, and the ideal goal in society is to be utopian, and that we should always try to improve.”

Abraham’s ideal society relates both to Cooper’s and Nickele’s.

“[My ideal society would be] when there’s equal opportunity for everyone but then people will still work to get what they want,” Abraham said. “[For example], they wouldn’t be entitled to things without doing what they need to do to get [them] but then there should be equal opportunity for everyone so that the rich don’t keep getting richer.”

Cooper and Nickele were also dissimilar in how they came to hold their political views. According to Nickele, he came across his viewpoints due to interest and learning.

“[I came across my political views by] just learning stuff throughout my life,” Nickele said. “I read the communist manifesto last year and that got me more interested in the idea of communism, and I was thinking about collective societies, and I found [syndicalism] doing a research project and it described exactly what I thought.”

Cooper, on the other hand, feels like his political viewpoints came from his environment.

“I think every kid is a regurgitation of their parent’s opinions,” Cooper said. “When you see someone who’s a little bit funny, if you talk to their parent’s they’ll be a little bit funny too. I think every person is the product of their environment. Both of my parents are mostly conservative […]; I would just say I have really similar views to my parents. I do vary with my dad occasionally, but for the most part I do have very similar opinions as them.”

However, Nickele, Cooper and Abraham were all similar in that, despite their different political perspectives, they are all hesitant to speak openly about their views. Abraham, for instance, opted for anonymity, despite his moderate, centrist views, as he believed that even such could be volatile. Cooper believes that his conservative viewpoint can distance him from others, and he doesn’t like to speak about it with people he doesn’t know well.

“[It] can get you in trouble, having strong opinions,” Cooper said. “For some reason I felt the need to talk about politics when I was younger […], and that always resulted in arguments with people, because no one can ever agree fully.”

*Names have been change