At the time of writing this, there is less than a month until I graduate and depart high school. Preparing to end my four years at Aragon prompts me to consider what I wish I had done differently. In thinking about it, I feel that my biggest regret is not having been more active in sharing my conservative views. Not to say I haven’t been outspoken, but I wish, for instance, that I joined the Aragon Outlook my freshman year — not half way through my senior year. Or that I perhaps would have started a conservative club on campus. I did neither, and I regret that. In my last column, rather than bring clarity to some current event or provide an opposing opinion to a commonly held belief, I would like to put forward an open letter to conservatives at Aragon.
We are a minority; a particularly small one at that. When I first came to Aragon, I was almost sure I was the only one. However, particularly in the past few months, I have discovered that our school is not quite as homogenous as I had thought. There are conservatives at Aragon, albeit few, and they seldom will be public about it. It’s a shame really, because as far as I’m concerned, we have an ideology that desperately needs to be shared by level-headed, patient individuals who care deeply about the prosperity and survival of our nation. The Bay Area is clearly an echo chamber of liberalism. Brave men and women who believe in our shared conservative views need to bring forward respectful disagreement to challenge the status-quo. How can this be done? If, for instance, a teacher says something politically charged that you firmly believe is false, respectfully challenge the statement when the lecture is over; who knows, perhaps much of the class will agree with you, or had never considered your point of view. Or perhaps if a friend of yours believes in something you feel is misguided, talk about it with them, provide them reason and evidence in the contrary. The changing of minds is a long and arduous process. By engaging in respectful, logical and reasonable discussion, even the most hard-headed people can be convinced.
For those of you who still have a year or more of high school, I implore you to step forward and create a conservative club next year. I did not do this because I was afraid. I was afraid of failure, of pushback, of peers who would treat me poorly because of it and of teachers who I feared would hold my views against me. It was foolish fear, but fear nonetheless. Being afraid of openly sharing your views is foolish in a free country such as our own. Sure, especially around here, you will receive pushback, but the importance of being that voice of reason far outweighs any drawbacks. I am confident that whoever has the courage to go forward and create a forum for conservative students at Aragon to meet and discuss their views will be pleasantly surprised how many will join.
Above all else, no matter how my words inspire Aragon conservatives, keep in mind our values. I have spent considerable time developing my understanding of what it means to be conservative, so take some time to evaluate my words: We believe in America, as a force of good in the world and an example for the rest of the world to follow. We believe in equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. We believe in free speech, yet respectful speech. We believe in compassion without compulsion. We believe in freedom. Freedom to act within the bounds of law. Freedom to act as you please, to go where you want, to do what you want to do. We believe in law and order — respecting the laws of the lands and demanding the same of others, yet ensuring justice is administered fairly. We believe in the free market to bring wealth and prosperity, yet understand the need for limited regulation. We believe in the power of words to change the world, not weapons, yet we will gladly pick up a weapon to defend our families, our countrymen, and those who are defenseless. We believe in the Constitution and our duly elected government, no matter who governs. Yet we believe that all are equal under the law, even those who write it. Finally, we believe in our natural rights to life, liberty and property, the protection of which is our government’s highest purpose. Ultimately, we believe in upholding the foundation of our republic, which is the Constitution and the principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence.
Keep these principles in mind and apply them to the issues of the day. Be bold. Don’t be discouraged by being proven wrong. Don’t give into fear. If a small minority can change the course of the world, then undoubtedly resolute students can bring positive change to the discourse of a small high school and perhaps even to the Bay Area.