The other side of the spectrum

Feature Photo By: Sam Newman – Juniors Christopher Lehman (left) and Dillon Hutchison (right) discuss the decision on DACA. To read more about the DACA decision and how it relates to Rangeview, click here or here.

By: Sam Newman, Review Staff

President Donald John Trump. Controversy surrounds the name of the 45th President of the United States, and many people associate emotion – positive or negative – with the name.

Trump is one of only five presidents to be elected without winning the popular vote, and, according to the Denver Post, only 25% of Americans strongly support him.

Therefore, it may come as no surprise that a majority of Rangeview students do not support Trump or even consider themselves to be anti-Trump. It’s the popular opinion that you’ll hear while walking through the halls, and it’s what most students will tell you when asked.

Yet, despite this popular opinion, there are still Trump supporters within the walls of Rangeview high school. It’s no easy task to identify who does support Trump; they tend not to be very vocal about their opinions, except for in their closer circles of friends.

But, they’re here. You just have to look hard enough.

So what is it like to support President Trump in a school that seems to mostly oppose him? Juniors Christopher Lehman, Dillon Hutchison, and Jace Vlassis were willing to share their stories and opinions with the Raider Review.

 

Christopher Lehman

Christopher Lehman is involved in Stellar Xplorers, has one CCA and one AP class, and is following the STEM pathway at Rangeview. He calls himself a conservative who is slightly more right than the average Republican, and claims to have begun supporting Trump when there were just a few Republican candidates left.

Lehman didn’t originally support Trump. Towards the beginning of the presidential race, Lehman believed that Trump’s campaign was little more than a marketing ploy. 

Junior Christopher Lehman contemplates the political topics discussed in his civics class. Lehman considers himself to be very conservative, and has progressively become more of a Trump supporter with the passage of time. (Sam Newman)

“It was kind of like… okay, this is a marketing deal, good for business,” Lehman stated, discussing his original impressions of Trump’s campaign. He continued, saying, “Then I realized, you know what, he’s going out of his way [to get] away from business and [is] trying to actually make a change in the world.”

As the election drew closer and closer, Lehman began to support Trump more and more. After it was determined that Trump would be the 45th President of the United States, Lehman was ecstatic. Unfortunately for Lehman, the victory of Trump didn’t suddenly change the general public’s opinion of Trump, especially not at Rangeview.

One thing that Lehman notes is that he doesn’t feel safe to express his opinion on politics as much as he would like.

Lehman expressed, “I just… can’t express my opinion as much. If I say one thing, someone’s gonna start a fight because they don’t like you. They got the teachers on their side, and…. I have to stay a little bit more like, conserved to myself, and not like, keeping my opinion much.”

Despite feeling like he can’t share what he thinks sometimes, Lehman declares that he would never try to convey the same feeling of silence to another person, even of an opposite political standpoint. In his mind, he tries to respect all other opinions, even if he doesn’t like them very much.

Lehman holds that, “You just gotta give [President Trump] a chance, and… he’s our president, you gotta accept that fact, and… sometimes you gotta accept other opinions, and see things from a different point of view.”

 

Dillon Hutchison

Dillon Hutchison, who is involved in cross country, wrestling, and tech theater, along with one AP and one CCA class, is a self-proclaimed conservative and Trump supporter. Hutchison states that he considers himself to be a moderate right-winger, who began to support Trump a short while after he began his campaign.

Hutchison says that he didn’t originally know much about the presidential race, so he had neutral opinions on the candidates for the first portion. It wasn’t until the actual election drew nearer that he began to support Trump more, when he began to see and agree with Trump’s proposals.

Following the election of Trump as president, Hutchison began to support Trump more. However, he still found that he couldn’t share what he thought as much as he would like to.

Junior Dillon Hutchison walks across the parking lot toward Rangeview. Hutchison is a more recent Trump supporter, who doesn’t discuss politics unless absolutely necessary. (Sam Newman)

“As soon as you say something like, ‘I support Trump and I think what he’s doing is great,’ you’re gonna have an argument [with] most of the school, and someone’s eventually not gonna like that and probably will want to fight,” Hutchison states, adding simply that “It’s easier to keep to yourself.”

Hutchison has found that the simplest, safest way to avoid conflict is to avoid the discussion of politics in general. Even if he finds himself in a conversation that contradicts with what he thinks or believes, Hutchison tends to keep quiet.

“At Rangeview, it’s more like, I do my own thing, I just let them do theirs, I respect what they have to say, and just keep what I have to say [to myself],” Hutchison asserts.

While Hutchison does try to keep his opinion to himself when it comes to politics, he doesn’t show any concern over alienating people based on what he thinks or believes. He makes it very clear that his friendships are not based on politics, and that, for the most part, political opinions are not a factor that affects how a friendship is.

He says that he doesn’t mind if other people, who he doesn’t care about, think differently of him based on his political stance; his friends are the only ones that matter to him, and they’re the ones who won’t let politics come between a friendship.

His final words on President Trump were that, “He’s not as bad as people think he is.”

 

Jace Vlassis

Jace Vlassis, the final student who shared his story, doesn’t quite match the mold of the others. Vlassis considers himself to be a conservative for the most part; however, he is able to argue for or against both liberal and conservative concepts.

Furthermore, while he does support some of Trump’s actions, he doesn’t consider himself to be a full-fledged Trump supporter. Rather, he assigns himself the numerical value of being 80% of a supporter.

Vlassis, unlike Lehman or Hutchison, supported Trump right from the get-go. Vlassis knew from the moment that he saw who would be running in the presidential race that Trump would be his pick.

As Vlassis says, “I always thought he [Trump] was a good businessman, and we needed someone more cut throat and straightforward in the White House…. I had high expectations.” Vlassis continued by addressing some of Trump’s mistakes, saying that, “When he started making himself look somewhat bad, I still stood by him. I had confidence.”

Upon the election of the president, Vlassis met a few more Trump supporters, but he still felt seriously outnumbered by those who were opposed to the controversial president. To Vlassis, it seems that the whole school is in opposition of his own political opinions, and that walking into Rangeview is like walking into an ocean of liberals.

Junior Jace Vlassis listens stoically as a Rangeview student speaks to him. Vlassis avoids political arguments, but will gladly defend his position should it be brought into question. (Sam Newman)

Vlassis describes it as, “constantly feeling like you’re the outcast, and you have nobody to plead sympathy from except your fellow supporters.”

Vlassis is the only one of the three to report harassment based on his political opinions, saying that he’s used to getting dirty glares and derogatory comments upon stating something that reveals where he stands politically. He says that, should someone approach him in a negative way about supporting Trump, he will become defensive about it, but won’t go out of his way to get in an argument.

Vlassis is also the only one of the three students to express concern about losing some friendships due to the reveal of his political stance.

“I would probably lose a few friends, but it’s okay. If they can’t be mature enough to not base their acquaintance with me on my preferred Commander-in-Chief, then I don’t really want to know them anyway,” stated Vlassis.

While Vlassis may be aware that he runs the risk of losing friends due to politics, he doesn’t intend to let that get in the way of him standing up for what he believes in. He consistently makes it very clear what his opinion is, even if it’s not the popular opinion, and he wishes that more people would go with what they believe, rather than with what’s popular.

Vlassis made a point of saying that, “it’s a tragedy that the only reason you would really get bombarded for being a Trump supporter is because nobody actually hates him because they know anything; they hate him because of Facebook, and Twitter, and YouTube. They hate him because it’s the norm, and they can’t be the outlier.”

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