Miami High News

Many Minds. One Country.

By Ian Sanz, Staff Writer

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Collage made by Ian Sanz.

 

America’s political climate has been particularly tense in recent years following events such as the election of President Donald Trump, the deterioration of the world’s climate, the spike in school shootings, and the popularity of social networks.

I had been curious as to how politicized Miami High students were and where they stood on several issues. While interviewing, I was surprised to find that very few students had any political opinions. For every one student I found willing to be interviewed, five would decline. Fortunately, there were some individuals with great perspectives on the issues I presented.

Political Labels

It’s important to understand some of the labels used in this story, such as conservative, liberal, libertarian, and centrist, which will be defined by Wikipedia. A conservative is “someone who has respect for American traditions, republicanism, Christian values, business, anti-communism, and individualism. They are typically opposed to abortion, gun legislation, and government intervention in the economy.”

A liberal is someone who “opposes cuts to the social safety net and supports a role for government in reducing inequality, providing education, ensuring access to healthcare, regulating economic activity and protecting the natural environment. Liberals favor higher taxation on the wealthy, gun restrictions, same-sex marriage, and women’s reproductive rights.”

Libertarians, who are conservative in economic matters but liberal on social issues, support “a much smaller government, individual responsibility, less government bureaucracy and taxes, private charity, diverse lifestyles, and large-scale deregulation of the economy.”

Centrists support “a balance of social equality and social hierarchy, while opposing political changes which would result in a significant shift of society strongly to either the left (liberalism) or the right (conservativism).”

The Trump Administration

The opinions of Miami High students on topics like the Trump administration vary. Junior Thais Maradiaga, who considers herself a liberal, said, “Trump’s aggression towards child refugees is unsurprising given his withdrawal of the United States from the U.N. Human Rights Council.”

Other students have a more favorable attitude towards Trump. “Although he’s known for saying dumb things, his policies have caused an economic boom. That’s all that should matter in the end to citizens,” said senior Angel Navas, a self-described libertarian.

Junior Angel Martos, who also identified as a libertarian, said, “Domestically, I wish he took better advantage of the Republican majority in Congress to pass more legislation than just a tax code revision. In foreign affairs, however, Trump is making waves with his populist sentiments. He inspires nationalists all over the world looking to reclaim their countries.”

Venezuela

In reference to the political instability and economic turmoil occurring in Venezuela under the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro, the Trump administration has vocalized support for opposition parties and rebels in the country. Surprisingly, independent conservative Jacky Zhang said, “The United States should have never gotten involved. Our sanctioning of their economy has only made the situation worse for the very people we were trying to help. Regime change always leads to catastrophe. The Obama administration’s intervention in Libya has left behind a lawless, war-torn wasteland overwhelmed with slave markets. The Reagan administration’s intervention in Nicaragua resulted in the death of so many innocents in school and hospital bombings. Will we ever learn?”

Also surprising, libertarian Angel Navas favors intervention. “When the United States, as a global superpower, doesn’t watch over the rights of the people of the world, they are left vulnerable to brutal regimes who answer to no one. If a government refuses to answer to its people, they should fear having to answer to the United States,” she said.

Climate Change

On the issue of climate change, Thais Maradiaga is very concerned.  “Living in a coastal community from a low-income family, I am highly vulnerable to being displaced by climate events such as sea-level rise,” she said.

Angel Martos, however, said, “The climate change alarm has been rung by the media before, and it will ring again. I don’t fall for it anymore.”

Gun Laws

Following last year’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Broward County, the issue of gun laws has become prominent in many students’ minds. Senior Reinaldo Cardenas, who identifies as a centrist, does not advocate for further gun restrictions, like some of his liberal friends do. “When you’re in a dangerous situation and you call the police, you’re essentially calling a guy with a gun to come protect you,” he said. “Why not allow regular citizens to just defend themselves with their own guns? History has shown police aren’t special or less likely to commit crimes.”

Liberal Thais Maradiaga, on the other hand, said, “Guns are a constitutional right, but in a developed country with so many shootings, we are in dire need of more gun restrictions. I know of so many gun owners, including my father, who would not be opposed.”

Immigration Reform

With the Trump administration’s hysterical attitude towards immigration, students have strong opinions on the topic. Reinaldo Cardenas said, “The United States was founded on immigration. It’s terrible that so many people, including minorities, have accepted the Eurocentric image of America played on television and in literature. American history is as black, Hispanic, Asian, and native as it is white.”

On the other hand, senior Jacky Zhang, who identified as an independent conservative, said, “The nation is definitely in need of immigration reform. A lot of immigrants, especially here in Miami, put little to no effort into assimilating to our culture. They don’t try being real Americans.”

Libertarian Angel Martos said, “It doesn’t make sense to have illegal immigrants take advantage of social programs funded by the taxes of naturalized citizens and legal residents. What we should focus on is eliminating the push factors that force so many to immigrate to America. When it comes to Latin America, the legalization of drugs such as marijuana here in the United States, would put drug revenue into the hands of American businesses and defund the Latin cartels that terrorize so many into coming here.”

 

Raising the Minimum Wage

When it comes to raising the minimum wage, centrist Reinaldo Cardenas said, “The time has come for a higher minimum wage. A large portion of the community is stuck living paycheck to paycheck, incapable of escaping systemic poverty that has plagued families for generations. Whether or not minimum wage workers is meant for unskilled and entry-level workers, the fact of the matter is that many adults work minimum wage jobs to provide for their families, and they cannot do it at the current rate even when working at multiple places.”

On the other hand, senior David Andrade, who identified as a liberal, surprisingly disagrees. “Any look into basic economics will reveal the self-defeating character of higher minimum wages. Employers would compensate for the loss in profit by raising the prices of their products, thus inflating prices across markets and making things just as unaffordable as they were before,” he said.

 

Liberals typically support:

  • Higher taxes on the wealthy
  • Access to abortions
  • Affordable healthcare and university
  • Gun restrictions

Conservatives typically support:

  • Lower taxes
  • Traditional, Christian values
  • Gun rights
  • Less government interference in the economy

Libertarians typically support:

  • Lower taxes
  • Social and moral freedom in regards to sexuality, drug use, and religion
  • Gun rights
  • Less government interference in the economy

Source: Wikipedia.org

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