Young Republicans Establish Club

Katrina Kovalik

Miramonte seniors and friends Berkeley Fife, Shannon Garvey and Morgan Thyberg co-founded Miramonte’s new Young Republicans Club (YRC). So far, the club has met with much success in what is presumed to be a dominantly liberal environment. The three girls gained about 55 sign-ups on club day, mostly senior guys and only one senior girl. Math teacher Carolyn Manning sponsors the YRC, which held its first meeting on Oct. 14. Mirador conducted an interview with the three co-founders in order to delve deeper into the thought processes of some of our school’s only openly Republican students.

When and why did you guys start the Young Republicans Club?
Berkeley: We all dressed up and had dinner one night at Bing Crosby’s, and over our filets we realized we were all Republicans.
Shannon: We couldn’t believe we found other Republicans; we didn’t know.

What does the club do and what do you hope to accomplish?
S: We want to go to the Republican Headquarters in Walnut Creek to volunteer and call people to vote and hit up Meg Whitman. I talked to a guy on the phone and any age can volunteer.
B: The reason why our club was so popular on club day is because we’re a minority. Republicans are picked on so they want to join together.
Morgan: A lot of Republicans came out of the woodwork.

Has the club received any backlash or insults?
B: A girl asked me if my shirt [an Obama shirt with the “O” replaced by the communist symbol] was even allowed.
S: The first teacher we asked to sponsor our club was Mr. Hunter and he just laughed. The office ladies seemed amused when we went to them too.
M: It was really easy to get 10 signatures. We didn’t have to find people, they came to us. We were surprised at how much support we got on club day. It felt good. People came up to us and said, “Good job guys, someone needs to do this.”

How did you guys develop your political affiliation?
S: Up until last year, I kept my views to myself. I researched and formulated an opinion on my own. I was afraid to be judged.
M: I was afraid to offend people.
B: I’ve never been afraid. I know I’m right.
M: My parents are Republican and really conservative. Initially it was my parents who influenced me, but when presented with [conservative] options, I decided I liked them myself, and I rationalized that this makes sense, that it’s levelheaded. I differ a little bit socially with my parents though.
B: I grew up in Virginia and went to an all-girls private school, so it was really different there. Both my parents are conservative. I really respect and look up to my dad; he does always seem to be right. I honestly don’t morally understand how you can’t be a Republican.

Is it difficult to be a Republican at this school?
B: I love being a Republican at this school.
M: Republicans are usually categorized as old.
S: A lot of people start out Democrat and become Republican. Like the old Republican people now used to be the hippies in the 60s and 70s. Young people tend to base their views solely on human rights.
B: It’s cool when a teenager pretends to be a hippie.
S: Once they realize that they have to pay taxes—usually in their 30s, people become more conservative.
B: Teens focus more on social issues. The reason why it seems like there are more liberals and why Republicans are the silent majority is that social issues are louder than fiscal issues.
S: But we’re more focused on fiscal issues and foreign and domestic policy.

Does religion in any way affect your political views?
B: I’m an atheist, so . . . God, country, liberty [laughs].
S: I’m Catholic, but it doesn’t play any part in my political beliefs.
M: I’m very religious, but I still made a rational choice.

What are your opinions on, say, abortion?
S: I’m pro-life.
B: I’m pro-choice. I wouldn’t, and I don’t respect people that do get abortions, but I don’t think the government should be able to tell us what to do. I would never base my vote on social issues. Social issues are created to hype people up.
M: I’m not socially concerned. Financial issues are just more motivating.

What would you want to say to possible club members?
S: You don’t have to be a Republican, you can just come to hear the Republican side. You should hear both sides and then form your own opinion.