By Ivey McDaniel | Staff Writer
With the upsurge of political conversation surrounding the GOP candidate nominations, sophomores Maxwell Fang, Kelsey Wickerham and Austin Armdan recently created the ‘Johnson Liberals’ club.
“We had a group of about six or seven people who knew what we wanted to do. We felt that there weren’t a lot [of liberals] in our community, and then we decided that we wanted to find people with the same beliefs as us, to a certain extent, and create a community,” said sophomore and vice president Austin Ardman.
Ardman doesn’t plan on forcing beliefs on others, but rather questioning why others feel the way they do.
“The main message is to spread liberal morality to the bulk of our school. The idea is to spread tolerance, [from a liberal perspective] and make our school a better place. We want to question their beliefs,” Ardman said.
Ardman and the other officers had some difficulties. They were required to get 20 parent signatures, and a sponsor. Teachers Gabriel Oviedo, Justin Felux, and Katherine Forisha stepped up to the plate.
“Our meeting range form a variety of things. We will have organizational meetings, we figure out what we’re going to do as a club, when and how. We are planning debate or discussion meetings, where members will share their opinion and others can listen to their beliefs, and we’re trying to do some community service activities, give back, and make a name for ourselves,” Ardman said.
The officers are especially excited for the debate meetings, where students with opposing views are welcome to come.
“We plan on talking about pertinent topics, such as SOPA, gay rights, abortion, religion in the government, and things such as that. If they’re anything like us, they’ll want to have a support group. We’re trying to get people more concerned with politics, most students here will be voting in just a few years, and we just want everyone to be knowledgable about the issues being brought up,” said Ardman.
In response to the club’s formation, another club- Johnson Conservatives- has developed.
“It’s headed by a friend of mine, and they’re a great group. If they can accomplish as much as we have, I think the school will be a better place. I don’t want to integrate the clubs, but I want each club to learn from each other. We have the same goal: political awareness,” Ardman said.
Ardman, instead of being upset, is glad the other club has been created. As long as students are correctly informed, he’s happy.
“We need a two-sided school, just like our government. If we just had a one-party system, be it Democratic or Republican, we would end up leaning towards a very socialist or communist-type place, because the one side’s view would end up strangling everyone else’s. You want the same thing in the school so neither goes to extremes,” Ardman said.
The club plans on meeting after school in Mr. Felux’s room, and can be found on Facebook.
“Some people don’t have an opinion, or even an opinion of their own. It’s difficult because we live in a primarily conservative region, liberals are hard to find, but we know they’re out there,” sophomore Austin Hynes said.