The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Senior Issue 2024
June 5, 2024

The controversy behind opinion

By Amber Haydar
Features Editor

Modern society has made it so that discussing politics openly has become a point of contention. Rather than having a healthy, hospitable debate regarding one’s views on the state of our nation—or even foreign politics—those of differing opinions tend to shy away from tough conversations altogether. Should we, as a society, avoid possibly heated political discourse?

A more common occurrence as of late, accredited to the rise of social media, is the posting of political beliefs on different platforms, typically in the form of a Tweet or an Instagram post. It is common to log on to Instagram and see at least a handful of politically charged infographics reposted on the stories of the people you are following, regardless of wherever they lie on the political spectrum. It has become a trend for social media users to post their opinions for their followers to see, which has inherently sparked countless controversies and deep-seated division, specifically within friendships and social circles.

While it is hard to pinpoint a cause of the hyperpolarization among both ends of the partisan sphere, many argue that it all began with the murder of George Floyd in May. The rise of the Black Lives Matter movement sparked massive tension between its supporters and its opposers. Even those who chose not to share their stance on the matter were often scrutinized by both parties. They were either accused of not speaking their mind, their silence deemed complicity. This led to an even deeper divide amongst those of varying beliefs, even in our local MAST community.

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One of the survey’s questions which depicts nuanced opinions amongst MAST students.

A poll conducted by the Beacon staff on the week of November 15th gathered MAST students’ opinions regarding their beliefs on navigating relationships in this polarized political climate. Among a few other questions, we asked students, “If you are friends with people of differing political beliefs how do you navigate your relationship with them?” We received a grand variety of responses, from students stating that they agree to disagree, do not discuss politics at all, or claim they will stop being friends with the person altogether.

Needless to say, society has become a partisan battleground. Differences in opinion are no longer encouraged but condemned. Many would rather surround themselves with those of like-minded thoughts than hear from the other side—denying the possibility of meaningful discourse entirely. I believe that these kinds of conversations are essential for the evolution of society as a whole. Surrounding yourself with people whose opinions differ from your own is healthy, as these kinds of debates incite personal growth and mental expansion for both parties. Without talking through these heated issues with one another, we are left with nothing but unresolved tension and unchallenged minds. 

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The controversy behind opinion