Olivia Capestany, a senior at Roosevelt High School, recently decided there was something missing from her life: the perspective of people that disagreed with her politically.
“Roosevelt is primarily a very liberal school,” Capestany said in an interview with 770 KTTH’s Jason Rantz. “Basically because of where we live, it’s a very white, liberal area.”
The election of Donald Trump was hard on Capestany and many of her classmates and her journalism teacher realized it might be helpful for students to meet someone with conservative views. Her teacher invited a former Roosevelt student and active Trump supporter to speak to the class.
“So about half the class decided to leave, and half the class decided to stay,” Capestany said. “It was about a week or so after the election, so for a lot of people it was still a touchy issue.”
Capestany decided to stay for the discussion and detailed the experience in an essay published as part of the Student Voices series in The Seattle Times. At one point, though, she felt she needed to leave.
“There were times, and one moment, in particular, I talk about in the article, where I asked him about the Billy Bush tapes, the Access Hollywood tapes, and he said he remained loyal to Trump after that,” Capestany said. “I immediately had a reaction and I had to step out of the room.”
Although difficult, Capestany felt the experience was valuable.
“In that moment I realized how I’d been living in a liberal bubble,” Capestany said. “It, in a way, popped my bubble because I was like, there are people out there that think differently than I do, and I need to become a little more open minded to that fact.”
Capestany also spoke to liberal and conservative students for her Seattle Times essay. She realized there were some common misconceptions liberals believed about conservatives.
“Liberal students, including me, had this idea that Republicans at our school were just dumb or intolerant,” Capestany said. “Unless you have a conversation with someone you don’t know really what they’re about.”
So far, Capestany says she hasn’t gotten any backlash for the piece.
“I think that was also really telling and really showed me this is just a basic idea, just having a respectful conversation and listening, and that shouldn’t be controversial,” Capestany said.