The leaders of Blair’s Young Republican and Young Democrat Clubs have modeled political cordiality and cooperation during several evening discussions this year. Throughout the fall, the clubs gathered with community members in the Chiang Center for Innovation and Collaboration for open dialogue on a variety of current political topics. While each conversation focused on a different hot-button issue—ranging from immigration to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to midterm elections—one premise remained the same: Everyone was welcome to voice his or her point of view.
Young Republican leader Patrick Reardon ’19 has been involved with the club since he was a sophomore, but he noted that this is the first year in his experience that the organization has held meetings and events. “I enjoy leading big, open discussions about the issues,” he said, describing how the club is for anyone who wants to share ideas, not just those who consider themselves Republicans. “The goal is to educate people about the facts of any given issue. So much political discussion is opinion-based, when it should focus on fact. That’s what really matters.”
On the opposite side of the aisle, Katherine Holding ’20, Camille Williams ’20 and Arielle Cobb ’20 formed Blair’s Young Democrat Club in fall 2018. “We’re all passionate about politics, and we wanted to make sure people of all views were represented on campus,” Camille said. She was pleased that nearly 40 people—including students and teachers—attended each of the fall events and that discussion was wide-ranging and covered many perspectives.
Last fall, the Young Democrat Club also spearheaded a voter registration drive and hosted an informational seminar about the midterm elections. Members continue to use a group chat space to post interesting articles and ask questions, and they hope to invite speakers to campus. “Our primary founding goal was to ensure there was an organized liberal presence on campus,” Katherine said. “Now we work to engage students and ensure everyone has access to a fundamental understanding of our political system and current events.”
In the new year, the leaders of both clubs hope to keep the all-views-welcome political conversation going on campus during regular evening discussions. Club members may also attend a Women’s March in the coming weeks, a joint undertaking that Arielle noted will take a lot of organization and planning and will likely be the biggest event of the year for the clubs.
“Even though we represent two political parties, I think we share a common goal to make our country the best it can be,” Patrick reflected. “The only way we can do that is by remaining open minded and becoming educated. That’s especially important at a great school like Blair. Someday, one of us may start a business or run for office and, in that way, effect change and really have an impact.”