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The elephant in the room: Hayfield’s Young Republicans club

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The elephant in the room: Hayfield’s Young Republicans club

Alex Szymczak

Alex Szymczak

Alex Szymczak

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Since the intensity of the presidential election of 2016, many students at Hayfield have been inspired to become more active in politics. The Young Democrats club was created at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, and this year a Young Republicans club was started as well. Senior Ryan Ghandour has played an essential role in getting the Young Republicans club up and running. Ghandour, who has been interested in politics from a young age, became politically active during the presidential election of 2016.

“I was told by a couple of my junior friends that they were starting up the Young Republicans, so I decided to take initiative and spearhead the start,” Ghandour said.

The club is sponsored by history teacher Tim Busch, who provides oversight and assists the members in their endeavors. Ghandour has worked closely with both Busch and government teacher Doug Zywiol, sponsor of Hayfield’s Young Democrats club.

“Any time students can express their political [and] religious views, I’m one hundred percent for that,” Zywiol said. “We already have a Young Democrats club here, so that makes perfect sense that naturally we would have a Young Republicans club.”

While many teachers and students on both sides of the political spectrum have been supportive of the Young Republicans, the club has faced backlash as well. Many of the club’s interest meeting flyers were torn off of the walls by students just days after being put up.

“Ryan and I predicted this would happen,” senior Alex Szymczak said. “It proves our point that there are definitely students at Hayfield that would rather just blow off the opposing side rather than try to actually debate the ideas at hand.”

Szymczak, a member of the Young Republicans club, also became politically active during the presidential election of 2016. Like Szymczak, many were unfazed by resentment toward the Young Republicans. Even so, the negative reaction of select students was certainly a let down.

“In today’s political climate, it’s kind of socially acceptable to bully Republicans just because so many people feel like Donald Trump as the party head is a bit of a bully himself,” Busch said. “Seeing that happen around school, it’s not surprising, but it’s really disappointing and irresponsible.”

The school environment is not the only place where animosity toward Republicans generally exists. With Northern Virginia consisting of such a dense liberal population, many moderates and conservatives feel that they cannot express their political beliefs without being heavily criticized.

“It is hard for many people who are right-wing Republicans to say that they are conservative in this area,” Ghandour said. “All we would like to do is participate freely in the political process without the fear of being persecuted for what we believe in.”

Despite the early opposition, the Young Republicans are enthusiastic about the opportunity to come together and voice their political opinions. Those who have worked to get the club functioning have a general idea of what they would like to accomplish, and they hope to inspire others to join them.

“Most people I’ve talked to that are interested in the club have similar goals like mine: to become more active in the Virginian political sphere and provide a productive outlet for young conservatives at Hayfield,” Szymczak said.

The current members hope to build an organization that is able to engage students in local political activities. In addition to their plans to actively participate in the community, Busch hopes that the club will allow the Young Republicans to become more knowledgeable about the party’s beliefs.

“I would like to see them become more educated on what the Republican party is [and] what it stands for,” Busch said. “I would love for them to be able to understand the ideological foundation for the Republican party.”

In addition to learning about their own party and discussing ideas amongst themselves, the possibility of forming a relationship with the Young Democrats club is also an area of interest for the Young Republicans.

“The Young Democrats are wonderful individuals,” Ghandour said. “We will work with the Young Democrats to improve ourselves and become more knowledgeable in opinions that differ from ours, be it through organized debates or through common interaction.”

Although many students anticipate hostility between members of the Young Republicans club and the Young Democrats club, the members and sponsors themselves hope to create an enriching atmosphere that will allow everyone involved to better understand one another.

“I’d love for them to come together. I don’t think that it has to be an antagonistic relationship,” Busch said. “I think that both clubs can learn from each other, and need to learn from each other instead of looking at each other as adversaries or enemies.”

Not only do members of the Young Republicans club hope to maintain a positive relationship with the Young Democrats, but they also hope to collaborate with them in a multitude of ways.

“I’d like to see if we could schedule debates with the Young Democrats and maybe even interact in bipartisan manner on community political projects such as Get Out the Vote,” Szymczak said.

With the support of the Young Democrats and the plans that the Young Republicans have already begun to put into action, the new club has been picking up momentum. Under the organization and leadership of passionate members, it seems that the Young Republicans will have a promising future at Hayfield.

“Our goal is to bring people from all political identifications to the same table to discuss politics, debate current events and simply have a great time,” Ghandour said. “Everyone is welcome.”

1 Comment

One Response to “The elephant in the room: Hayfield’s Young Republicans club”

  1. Ally Brown on March 5th, 2018 1:00 pm

    Clever headline and great writing!!

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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