Both sides of Drake’s political spectrum
February 3, 2020
Government should promote renewable energy
Decriminalize marijuanna possession
Comprehensive background checks for all gun purchases
Targeting Iranian cultural sites is bad
President Trump is impulsive and reckless
Drake’s monolithic political identity is harmful
Both sides of Drake’s political spectrum – Ian Christie
Senior Ian Christie considers himself a moderate conservative, but he believes a label can only go so far to describe one’s political identity. As someone who does not fit the liberal stereotype of the average Drake student, Ian is disappointed by the uniformity of Drake’s political being.
“Drake is dominated by liberal Democrats,” Ian said. “It’s definitely difficult, being someone with more conservative views, to go to school and feel comfortable voicing my beliefs.”
An example of such beliefs is his hardline stance on illegal immigration. Ian generally opposes accepting asylum seekers into the U.S., citing an inability of the U.S. government to be of assistance to said immigrants and the absence of any benefits of allowing them to migrate into the U.S. “I don’t see any advantages for our country allowing asylum seekers to reside in our borders.” Ian said. “Just letting people into our country and expecting them to integrate with society, I just don’t think is beneficial for anyone. I think a lot of people end up homeless.” Additionally, Ian believes all undocumented immigrants who came into the U.S. illegally should be deported, with no exceptions.
However, Ian’s opinion on abortion is the opposite of what would generally be considered “conservative.” About six in ten Republicans or Republican leaners think abortion should be illegal according to Pew Research Center. “I don’t think it’s the government’s right to impose a decision on a woman that has only to do with her and her own body,” Ian said. For Ian, the right to abortion falls under the right to privacy, which is alluded to in the fourth amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure.
Ian served as captain of the boys’ varsity water polo team this year and will become active duty military in July at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. As a future member of the military, Ian believes a strong display of force is necessary to cement the U.S.’s position as the world’s number one military power. “It’s important to show our dominance, especially in countries like Iran,” Ian said. He agrees with the concept of preventative action such as with the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, and thinks it would have been a sign of weakness to let Soleimani “do his thing.” Nonetheless, according to Ian, targeting cultural sites, as President Trump threatened on Twitter, would be unacceptable and clearly a war crime.
When it comes to the federal legal status of Marijuana, Ian subscribes to the libertarian perspective. He believes in the rights of individual states to legalize it despite its illegal status federally, and thinks non-violent possession offenders should be released from prison. “America is a country ‘built on freedom,’ and no matter what I don’t think it should be a schedule 1 substance,” Ian said. “If I were in charge, I would decriminalize possession and I would make marijuana federally legal.”
As someone who has views that span the political spectrum, Ian thinks that putting people in categories based on a singular political belief is dangerous and is the source of much of the polarization in the U.S. today. One example is the issue of gun control. Ian is in favor of “aggressive” background checks and psychological evaluations, but he sympathizes with people who are pro-gun. “I think the gun dispute in this country is aggressive and can get really hostile. The way that you’re perceived if you’re pro-gun creates a lot of other assumptions regarding your beliefs, and it’s also the same thing with abortion,” Ian said. “Finding middle ground on just one issue is a huge step.”
Both sides of drake’s political spectrum- Julia Pelletier
In a community lacking meaningful political identity, senior Julia Pelletier advocates for better protection of human rights on a global scale. Julia is a self-described liberal focused on human rights, especially when it comes to immigration and human identity liberties. She is also a member of Studies of the Environment Academy – Drake Integrated Studies Curricular (SEA-DISC).
She attributes her interest in human rights protections as well as her general political conscience to the travel ban of seven Muslim-majority countries in 2017. “That’s something that’s just so ridiculous, going against the core tenets of what our nation is meant to be and what we pride ourselves on,” Julia said.
Before the travel ban she recalled that she “existed as part of Marin County’s liberal bubble. I think a lot of people just follow what their parents do very blindly but they don’t really believe it wholeheartedly.”
With regard to immigration, Julia favors an easier asylum process and path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in general. “[immigrants are] coming no matter what, and whether or not we prosecute them and send them back to a world in which they can’t survive, or we take them and we integrate them to make our country’s economic system stronger is a decision that we can make.”
In alignment with the motivations of SEA-DISC, Julia also believes in a strong response to a changing climate. She believes that “in a perfect world [the Green New Deal] would be the best thing to do,” but has doubts about the government’s ability to make that happen. The Green New Deal is a “proposal that calls on the federal government to wean the United States from fossil fuels and curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions across the economy. It also aims to guarantee new high-paying jobs in clean energy industries,” according to the New York Times. Her preferred strategy is a general push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Every person should be doing what they can to make a difference, but the power is really within the hands of Exxon and all the giant companies,” she said.
When it comes to the recent clash between the U.S. and Iran, Julia favors a much less aggressive approach than the actions taken by the Trump administration. She believes the U.S. “should’ve done something else or nothing at all.” She described the choice to kill General Qasem Soleimani as “ridiculous.” She attributes support for U.S. acts of war in the Middle East to racism and misguided patriotism, and believes that the U.S. should work to reduce its general military presence around the world.
Another issue that Julia is passionate about is abortion. From her point of view, the right to an abortion is part of the list of human rights and general freedoms that cannot be restricted by the government. “The thought of a man in the white house choosing what I can do with my own body is absolutely terrifying.” However, Julia understands people who are opposed to abortion from a religious or moral perspective.
Julia currently plans on going to college somewhere on the east coast after she graduates, and is specifically looking for somewhere where there is a diversity of thought and a wide range of political beliefs. She claims the liberal homogeneity of Marin creates a non-inclusive political atmosphere. This creates a culture in which she says “there are some people who tout certain views not because they believe it but because they want to stir things up.” Julia thinks this is a major problem because such unfounded contrarian views can become “dangerous.”
Despite acknowledging the presence of political activism on campus, Julia wants Drake students to be more aware and welcoming of different views. “It’s hard to really form your own opinions until you hear something that counters it.”