The 2016 election happened to take place during the first semester of my freshman year of high school. While I had previously been interested in politics, this was when I found myself in a rough position. I was 14 years old and looking to be as politically active as possible. The problem was I couldn’t vote, I couldn’t drive, and I didn’t want the drama that often comes with joining political clubs.
As I’ve gone through high school, I’ve found that others have had similar problems, so here are a few things that you can do to be politically active in high school:
Take as many civics and economics classes as possible
You can’t be politically active if you don’t understand our nation’s history and its founding documents. These classes will help you gain a deeper understanding of the issues you are passionate about. It also gives you a place to listen to other points of view, which leads me to my next point.
Debate your classmates
The classroom is always a great place to debate (during appropriate times). Classes are low pressure, so they are great places to perfect your arguments and listen to other perspectives. Some of the best political debates I’ve had were in my sophomore civics and my junior government class.
Keep up with the news the best you can
The news cycle is constantly changing and what is politically relevant today may not be tomorrow, especially when a tweet from the President can send the media into a frenzy. Take time to read up on current events because you don’t want to be “that person” who is uninformed but still wants to talk politics.
Find commentators you like to listen to
Understanding what other people believe about a certain issue can help you form new ideas and arguments. Be sure to listen to many commentators, both people you agree and disagree with. It will keep you out of your ideological bubble. It may help to listen to some of the same commentators that your left-leaning classmates listen to. Knowing their arguments will help you prepare for your classmate’s arguments.
Stay out of your echo chamber
It’s easy and comfortable to surround yourself with people who you agree with, but it isn’t very helpful. Listen to ideas that challenge your own as this will help you make better arguments. If you can’t handle ideas that you don’t agree with, politics might not be for you.
Read full policy proposals
I’m not saying to read a 10,000 page omnibus package that nobody has heard of, but reading popular policy proposals will help you make effective arguments. There is often misinformation about controversial bills. If you read and understand what the legislation actually says, you will be able to combat these misconceptions.
Keep up with Supreme Court rulings
Understanding current precedent is important in making constitutional arguments. If you agree with the Court on an issue, look at the majority opinion and see if you agree with the rationale. Then look at the dissenting opinion to understand the counterpoints. Likewise, if you disagree with a case, look at both the majority opinion and the dissenting opinion. Reading Supreme Court opinions will help you understand the constitutional basis for the Supreme Court’s decision.
Join debate club
This will help you better structure arguments and make you more comfortable with public speaking. You will more than likely have to argue for positions that you don’t agree with. This will challenge you to form arguments and question your political views.
Join political campaigns
In America, you have to be 18 to vote. That doesn’t mean you have to be 18 to get involved in various other ways. Political campaigns, for instance, look great on college applications and resumes while giving you relevant political experience.
Take breaks from politics
It’s called the swamp for a reason. It’s important for everyone to take a break, even from things they are passionate about. This is especially true when it’s as toxic as the political world. Taking the occasional break will help you maintain interest and will hopefully prevent you from losing complete faith in humanity.
Join Lone Conservative (seriously). There are lots of different viewpoints that we discuss openly. Become part of a like-minded group that is far from an echo chamber.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.