As we began work on this election feature, the editorial staff called upon the Riverdale community to submit diverse opinion pieces. Even though we were actively looking to represent the full political spectrum, we received mainly liberal and some moderate pieces.
With the absence of conservative opinions, we were confronted by multiple questions regarding what it means to fairly represent the community’s political beliefs. We were hesitant to solicit individuals with conservative beliefs to represent one end of the spectrum because we believe that it is more ethical to have opinions writers approach us. We questioned whether liberal minded individuals were compelled to submit pieces due to the more liberal content we have previously published. At the same time, we considered whether or not the majority liberal to moderate perspective was simply reflective of the Riverdale community’s political culture, which is a hypothesis supported by our poll data. Of the 194 students who participated in our poll, 66.7% of students would vote for Hillary Clinton, while only 5.7% of students would vote for Donald Trump.
Fair representation of different political opinions is an issue that many American news outlets have been dealing with in this election. The Huffington Post, for example, stated that they would only publish articles about Donald Trump in their entertainment section prior to his nomination, and now place an editor’s note about Trump’s racist and misogynistic rhetoric at the end of each article about him. The Riverdale Review deeply considered the pros and cons of endorsing a candidate as a publication. Given that we are a publication for a school community, we thought that our endorsement of a candidate would have different implications than that of a widely circulating publication. We would not want our endorsement to alienate those who hold opposing political views from writing for the Riverdale Review, as we want to represent all of our community’s perspectives and concerns. However, several of our editors noted that this election is a particularly important time to endorse a candidate, as we unanimously oppose the destructive language used by Donald Trump to address different racial, cultural, and religious groups.
Ultimately, our goal with this feature is to elevate the political opinions of the students who offered them and to provide the Riverdale community with an opportunity to become aware of select perspectives of the student body. Whether about politics or about other social issues, we hope to continue to reflect the interests of our community with our content, and we encourage all who read the Riverdale Review to share their voice.