The 2012 Presidential election is near and SLA students are talking about it — but that doesn’t mean they’re doing a good job.
SLA prides itself on an environment that allows for diverse students, but when a student speaks out with Republican views, there’s some surprised faces. It’s assumed that the community is predominantly liberal.
This is troubling for a number of reasons. As adolescents, we know the candidates, but we don’t always learn their ideas, goals, and views. And due to ignorance, once again we have a distorted perception of the election and its candidates.
The Internet and social media in particular — so critical to SLA’s culture — reinforce this “liberal bubble” we live in. Facebook News Feeds carry a lot of mockery pertaining to the main candidates. To Obama’s advantage, he’s more invested in the social media scene, which gives avid Internet users, like us, a skewed view of potential nominees.
Another example is Googling “completely wrong” and in the images section, there are a plethora amount of images presenting Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
Social media is not the only influence on teen views. One’s parents and community all affect how interested young people are in the elections. Because the majority of the community is liberal, it is perceived to be 100% liberal. This is what leads to the “bubble” at SLA.
One way to burst the bubble is to take a closer look at the policies of who you support. For example, take Obama’s “Race to the Top” program. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “Awards in Race to the Top will go to States that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive education reform.” [Via here]
This means that states with the highest test scores will be funded more than those who don’t. This program is likely to increase education inequity–not something at SLA believes in, but something most of us don’t know about.
So, what can SLA students do to pop the “liberal bubble”? Here are some suggestions:
- Tear away from Facebook News Feeds and search for unbiased information from Committee of 70, League of Women Voters, or FactCheck.org
- Read both liberal and conservative sources; If you’re going to watch Fox News, watch MSNBC as well, or if you’re going to read The New York Times, read The Wall Street Journal too.
- Be more open to conservative voices, especially Republicans at SLA.
- Decide what issues matter to you personally, and then get the facts.
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