How Different Communities at SHP Tackled the 2020 Election

  • Timothy Meneses ’21

This year’s 2020 presidential election has undoubtedly been an unprecedented and historic event. The election results were called four days after Election Day and increased tension across the country. Paired with the pandemic, many of SHP’s students and faculty have felt anxiety, stress, and apprehension during this election cycle, but faculty and student groups have sought to make the best of the situation.

Americans all over the country have already experienced tension because of the coronavirus, which has only gotten worse with the election and the deep divide within our nation’s political sides. AP U.S. History teacher and faculty advisor of the SHPolitics club Ms. Hurley said that she has been “extremely anxious and worried about violence” occurring because we are “very divided.” 

The extreme polarization between political parties has brought up thoughts about discord if either of the parties wins and the other loses. SHP has consistently advocated for peaceful and civil discourse in politics before and after the election to help lessen the tension in political conversations and the divide between people who identify with different ideologies. Ms. Hurley said that she started SHPolitics to “create a space for all political viewpoints” where “people could express their voices about the election.”

According to co-leader of the SHPolitics club, Carter Sun ‘21, “We’ve talked extensively about the different races, both in the legislature and the executive, and we’ve discussed the future of American politics, how to engage in peaceful political discourse, and how to bridge the divide between two extremely polarized parties”

In addition, to help mitigate these overwhelming feelings, the school’s administration, counseling department, and student life initiated Election Processing Spaces. The Election Processing Spaces are headed by Ms. Leverett, Ms. Stoll, Ms. Benjamin, and Ms. Castaneda. When asked about the impact of holding the Election Processing Spaces, Ms. Leverett said, “it gives students a chance to say how they’re feeling about the election, especially if there is no one else to talk to or if a student is stressed and they need help with hard conversations.” The Election Processing Spaces have definitely been a great way to handle the election results. 

No doubt 2020 has changed our cultural norms with this year’s unconventional high stakes pressure-filled election. Hopefully, students can learn from the peaceful discourse that was emphasized this fall as they continue their paths in a country this is marked by hyperpolarization at the moment.

Cover image provided by Zara Lokuge ’22

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