Political debate at CHS

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Talking politics is often a sensitive topic. Whether at the dinner table with family or the lunch table with friends, someone is bound to have an opposing view. Following President Trump’s inauguration, politics became an increasingly polarizing subject of discussion in America.

With that shift came a change in the way people talk about political issues; some try to avoid them, while others love talking politics. Although Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. have historically had widely dif- fering opinions on political and social issues, the division between the two groups has widened even further since the 2016 election.

At Carrboro High School, senior Jonah Perrin created the very popular Young Republicans and Teen Dem- ocrats Debate Club in order to hold open debates, during which students can share their opinions on various social and political issues. In past meetings — they meet every Thursday in Chris Beichner’s room — they have discussed issues such as gun control, abortion, the Pledge of Allegiance and immigration.

“We decided this year to make a Google Doc that people can add their topic ideas they want to discuss during the debate. It’s shared with all the members of the Debate Club and open to anyone who has an idea,” said Jacob Steinert, CHS senior and Vice President of the Republican side of the

Debate Club. “We decided this would be a lot better than us, the club leaders, choosing the topics. So we could actually debate and have civilized discussions that students at the school ac- tually care about.”

On November 28, the Young Republican and Teen Democratic Debate Club had their first debate of the year on gun control.

“I was excited and surprised to see so many people attend the first debate; it’s one of those clubs that really thrives in numbers. Many students showing up, whether or not they participate, is a huge part of the club. A good debate is better when there’s more people,” said Perrin, president of the club.

More than 60 people attend the debates weekly; therefore, the club has easily become one of the most popu- lar clubs at CHS. Many students often have trouble finding a chair, instead sitting and standing wherever they can find space.

“It’s really cool to see students at CHS having civilized discussions about really controversial issues and being able to share political opinions without fearing backlash from other people — something you don’t usually get to do at school,” said junior Josh Coyne.

In today’s modern political climate, open discussion — like that found in Carrboro’s Young Repub- licans and Teen Democrats Debate Club — is ever more important.