MSMS students demonstrate wide range of political views

Both+Luke+and+Blake+have+extreme+political+views+in+a+state+that+doesn%27t+always+welcome+difference.+

Carter Moore

Both Luke and Blake have extreme political views in a state that doesn't always welcome difference.

By Fiona Dawe, The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science

Mississippi is known for having one prevalent political mindset: conservatism. It’s present in its voting results, and many state officials align themselves with conservative values. Despite this, seniors Luke Bowles and Blake Cheater forged their own political beliefs that set them apart from the members of their conservative communities. In the MSMS community, one that fosters and encourages discussions and debates, these two students are particularly outspoken about their views. 

“I truly believe that one day, we can live in a [socialist] or communist society without a government,” Bowles, who is an anarchist and leftist, said. 

Growing up in Mississippi had a profound effect on Bowles’ mindset when he was younger.  

“When I was a kid, like most people in Mississippi, I was very conservative. I used to think that if you were a good person, you had to be a Christian and a Republican, but that was obviously due to the indoctrination I experienced,” Bowles said.

“Basically, I became less conservative gradually over time the more I learned about United States history,” Bowles said. “Learning about how the government had committed so many atrocities and spread so much propaganda under both ‘progressive’ and ‘conservative’ leadership really turned me off electoral politics in general. You can’t change a system that rests on a corrupt foundation from within. You have to tear it all down.” 

Both Cheater and Bowles live in Mississippi, where both feel the politics are deeply outdated and scarred by the state’s racist past. While similar to the rest of the United States, both agree Mississippi has a high tolerance for ignorance and hate. 

“Mississippi is grossly behind in fair (non-racist) policies and laws which is obviously caused by the deep-rooted racism that still plagues much of the state.” Cheater said.

While Cheater does live in Mississippi, he has political views that differ from the standard Mississippian. 

“I’m more or less a centrist. I lean to the right on most economic issues and am definitely a social liberal…I do believe capitalism to be the best economic system; however, our current form needs to be drastically reworked,” Cheater said. 

Cheater has been influenced a lot by Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson who helped Cheater “learn the best way to not only think about important issues, but discuss them, too.”

“[Peterson] often discusses Marxism from a psychologist’s point of view which helped me understand people’s motives for aligning with such ideologies,” Cheater said.

Another significant influence on their political views, especially Cheater’s, was coming to MSMS. 

“Many of my views have changed since coming to MSMS. The school is sort of a “liberal haven” in the heart of the most conservative part of the country. Talking politics and discussing different beliefs with others has certainly made me think and entertain their point of view,” Cheater said. “I used to be very against universal healthcare in all forms, but after coming here and listening to others’ arguments I feel that the government should have some sort of increased role in healthcare.”

The amount of dialogue and discussions MSMS students have, helped Cheater explore new mindsets and perspectives.

“La Croix and current events let me hear other people’s opinions, which most of them were well thought-out, and that in turn helped shape my current political beliefs,” says Cheater.

MSMS’s student body is not the only thing that made Cheater slightly shift his views.

“The president’s Twitter has changed some of my political beliefs. I don’t identify with the Republican Party as much as I used to.”

With the upcoming election, a critical discussion people are trying to have about the current two-party system, as it has brought us to the two candidates we have today. Both Cheater and Bowles agree that this current system is ineffectual.

 “It reduces competition and suppresses different views and beliefs,” says Cheater.

“I’m interested in politics because it affects practically everyone every day of their lives. So many of our values, thoughts, decisions and actions are all affected by or based on the political system we live in,” Bowles said.

This story was originally published on The Vision MSMS on August 24, 2020.