Young Presidents Debate


Recent controversial policies nationwide and here in Kansas have drawn a lot of attention. Here are reactions to these policies from president of the Young Democrats Club, Zachary Ziegenhorn, president of the Young Republicans Club, Sean Dougherty, and president of the Young Democratic Socialists Club, Brendan Davison.

  • Do you think that being LGBT is a choice/why?

SD: “I think both, honestly. I think there are certain cases where, yes, . But I believe there are people it is not a choice.”

ZZ: “I don’t think it’s a choice at all who somebody is attracted to because I don’t believe that most people would choose that if they did have a choice.”

BD: “When discussing rights for the LGBT community, the issue of whether it is a choice is a silly distraction. Being LGBT is unlikely a choice, but the debate over its cause is pointless. It distracts from much more important issues and we should not waste our time debating this.”

  • Do you agree with Gov. Brownback’s decision to remove LGBT gov. employees from a list of protected groups that cannot be discriminated against? Why?

SD: “As a conservative, first off, we don’t believe in creating special classes. That’s the argument for us. We really didn’t see any discrimination toward LGBT , so we really didn’t see it necessary for them to have a law like that.”

ZZ: “LGBT government workers are and were harassed a lot more before Gov. Sebelius made the executive order to protect them from the harassment. If they weren’t being harassed or aren’t being harassed, it’s not like the order does anything harmful to people aren’t LGBT. It just protects them… from…the damage that can come from that.”

SD: “I see where Zach is coming from, but we think that there could be certain cases where there could be an advantage. Someone could use that as an excuse to create a special advantage. That’s just our point of view.”

BD: “I disagree with any form of discrimination, and I strongly disagree with the Governor’s decision. You see, people are not born with prejudices. They are made for us by someone who wants something. Governor Brownback wants to force his outdated views on us, and is working to breed prejudice in the workplace through this decision.”

  • Should there be any ‘protected classes’ that cannot be discriminated against/why?

ZZ: “Well, I don’t think anybody should be discriminated against. I believe in protecting everybody from – not making special classes, just trying to get rid of any discrimination at all. Protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination is not creating a special class; it’s simply preserving their rights.”

SD-“Right. just the same point of view in regards to that. None of us believe that anybody should be discriminated or anything like that. ”

BD: “I don’t think I can put it any better. However there would be a need for these protections if people were more equal in opportunity.”

  • Should teachers be able to be prosecuted for teaching materials some people may find ‘offensive’ and why?The idea behind the bill is to make it easier to prosecute teachers and school administrators for using lesson materials deemed harmful to minors.

SD: “I think that eventually someone is going to get offended  something teach, so obviously that’s not going to work, but we should allow more school choice. If people aren’t what’s being taught at a certain public school, they have the option to go to another one.”

ZZ: “I agree with Sean on that one. I think that they’re not going to teach stuff intentionally that is harmful to anybody, but there are always going to be people that are offended by things.  Having the ability to prosecute teachers or administrators, make them lose their jobs, or even spend time in jail for doing their job is not a good choice.”

BD: “Absolutely not. If people don’t like what is being said, they can respectfully disagree. But the purpose of the arts is to challenge the established norms, which will always offend someone. The proposed legislation is nothing more than an attack on the right to freedom of speech, expression and information: a basic assault on academic freedoms.”

  • Do you agree with Brownback’s decision to cut school funding, which was already $129 million dollars underfunded, an additional $44.5 million to attempt to alleviate some pressure from the $344 million deficit.

SD: “Not 100 percent sure cutting more would be the answer, as of now. What I’d say, instead, is to create more of a competitive-type schooling. That is something government schooling lacks and why we are way behind private schools. You can have all the resources in the world, if you don’t know how to use them, it’s not going to matter.”

ZZ: “I don’t think that cutting was the best choice. I know we have a big deficit right now and he’s looking for ways to cut that back. I think that increased taxes on things like alcohol or cigarettes is one way to increase government revenue – there are a lot of different ways that Brownback could raise money without cutting millions of dollars out of the budget. We’ve already seen negative impacts of that here at Northwest with all the teachers leaving and less class choices.”

BD: “This is a prime example of the austerity policies that are being implemented in Europe. Brownback’s tax cut for the rich created a massive deficit, but instead of increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations, the governor has chosen instead to balance the budget on the backs of the people. Big business is making massive profits due to these tax cuts, but instead of attacking excess profits, the governor is attacking the people. Democratic Socialism is based on the idea of solidarity and the idea that people should be ahead of profits.”

  • Should courses, such as APUSH, be banned if they focus less on what makes America great and more on the flaws and past tragedies in the United States? Why?

SD: “As a conservative, I believe that a lot of things in school are focusing less on what makes America great. They’re not teaching the whole story on why this country is so great. We hear about the past mistakes we made, but a lot of people could agree we’re not getting the same on why we became the greatest nation on earth. We need to learn the principles that made us the greatest nation in history as well as past mistakes. They need to be honest about it, not give certain advantages to one side or the other.”

ZZ: “I think that it is important to teach both sides and to look at opinions from both, but I feel like APUSH, and other courses that some states in the south are starting to ban, do a pretty good job. I mean I’m sure it depends on the teacher, but it’s a national standard. I know from taking APUSH that it does look a lot from conservative historians and from more liberal ones. It’s very subjective to who is  writing your textbook, but I also think that it’s important to look at events that have happened in the past, in ways that we have failed, because even though we’re a great country, we have made some mistakes. It’s important to look at that and and understand what we’ve done so that we don’t make the same mistakes.”

BD: “We already whitewash our past. No where in our history books does it refer to Manifest Destiny as a genocide. They still refer to Columbus as the man who discovered America. Here is an example: when you hear 9/11, you think of the 2001 terror attacks, but you should think about 9/11/1973, when the CIA instigated a coup in Chile which killed the democratically elected president, and installed a brutal military dictator. Since 1945 the US has overthrown more than 50 foreign governments, and has caused the death of several millions. We already fail to learn about many of these actions. We need to learn about all of them.”