Athens Drive chooses sides, but there is no competition

Political divisions at the Drive may drive us apart, but Athens should remain a community.

Athens+Drives+dedication+to+its+political+spectrum++has+created+a+series+of+controversies+among+the+student+body.

Photos by Jenna Ali

Athens Drives dedication to its political spectrum has created a series of controversies among the student body.

As teenagers growing into young adults, we have stumbled upon the point in our lives where we must become contributing members of society and, thus, political standpoints are to be decided. Whilst stumbling into our political opinions, however, we stumble into each other. This has seemingly created a divide within the walls of Athens Drive along the lines of basic politics, separating the student body into “the liberals” and “the conservatives.”

From a liberal point of view, conservatives are holding the world back from the modernism that defines the left side of America. 

“During the 2020 election period, the political atmosphere was so intense,” said an anonymous liberal student. “There were plenty of conflicts between people at our school with people arguing about which candidate they supported and the respective opinions on human rights.”

The recent portrayal of the American government may seem like a distant issue but it is clearly close enough to Athens Drive. The negativity that bloomed in 2020 has yet to cease, creating a sense of general apathy towards one another: “You don’t care how we feel and we don’t care how you feel.”

There is a partition between students, splitting Athens Drive right down the middle. If everyone keeps to their respective side, there are no issues. But this creates a rift and an unnecessary sense of friction.

“I typically do not surround myself with people with right-leaning views,” said the liberal student. “The conservatives at Athens Drive come off as very hostile and put on a face of intimidation and genuine rudeness.”

If liberals stick with liberals, naturally, conservatives are the enemy.

From a conservative point of view, liberals are causing the world to stray further and further from the tradition that defines the right side of America. 

“I have been harassed for believing in republican ideas because when most people think of republicans or even democrats they instantly think of the far-right or far-left crazy people,” said an anonymous conservative student.

When the tension built on either side manifests in the form of personal attacks, the separation intensifies into hostility.

“For the students who do not believe in people having different opinions than them, it’s true that [the vastly different political opinions at our school have caused a divide among students],” said the conservative student. 

If conservatives stick with conservatives, naturally, liberals are the enemy. 

There is truth to both sides: too many conservatives refuse to adjust to change and too many liberals completely disregard right-wing customs.

The problem here lies in the concept that American politics are a two-sided debate. It entails the necessity of choosing sides, which automatically labels the opposing side as “the enemy.” 

But we are not each other’s enemies. Not within the borders of The United States and most definitely not within the walls of Athens Drive. 

Politics are a spectrum. Relying far too heavily on either side creates this sense of loyalty within you, which disables you from being a free-thinking person.

Speaking according to the ideals this country was built upon, each and every individual has a right to their very own opinion. And, believe it or not, every opinion doesn’t have to coincide with yours.

With that being said, freedom of opinion does not justify disrespect towards a person or group of people’s existence as the recent state of the American government may have entailed; and that goes for either side.

Forming a basis of fundamental respect for one another as people negates the contempt we have for one another for our contrasting beliefs. And as that contempt is negated, we can come together as the whole of America and, more specifically, the whole of Athens Drive.