Politics at TIP
Most TIP participants hold some form of political viewpoint, as characterized below:
During TIP East Term II 2011, many students were found to have anarchist and or communistic beliefs. Heated debates about the failure of democracy were heard at the Durham Bulls game, the Union, and multiple common rooms. One very vocal TIPster subscribed to the "nuke everyone then commit suicide" party. Surprisingly, when asked, most students firmly believed in the Communistic government, if it was executed ideally, rather than realistically. (At davidson term 1 2012, there were many jokes about communism by everyone with russian accents (really bad but funny ones))
A majority of TIPsters are democrats or liberals. Tom James is the president of a Young Democrats Club at his school, and it's probable that others have done similarly. Republicans are in the minority at TIP. This group ranges from moderate (american) liberalism to democratic socialism. At TIP, socialism does not have the negative connotation it has everywhere else.
One day in 2009, outspoken conservative, John Vaughan, asked Peter Sloan and Will Harris why everyone at TIP was liberal. The answer was short and harsh. "Because TIPsters are smart." Needless to say, John was scarred for life and seriously reconsidered his political affiliations.
The second most prominent political group is the Libertarians. They tend to be very good debaters and extremely pushy on Facebook (cough, cough, Samuel Joyce (no longer Libertarian)). There is sort of a bonding experience between liberals and libertarians; many blissful hours are spent making fun of social conservatism.
'Republicans are a rare breed of political animal almost non-existent at TIP. As one fourth year put it in his speech several years ago, "TIP is wonderful in that everybody is totally accepting of everyone else's viewpoints. Unless, of course, you happen to be a Republican."
At East 2004, the unimaginable happened when two openly Republican TIPsters were in the same course (McWorld), along with one pro-Bush Democrat and Logan Wall, who accepted the demise of communism and regarded globalization as inevitable, making four semi-to-very conservative and/or not liberal viewpoints in the same room.
As it happens, three more "open" Republicans of 2004 (Angie, Eowyn, and Emily) scoured the campus in search of a Fellowship of politically like-minded TIPsters (such a a few unnamed inhabitants of the Brown Sex Pit). Though the results were slightly less than stellar, Angie and Eowyn renewed their efforts in 2005 and found that half their class were open or closet Republicans. After questioning more of the campus, they found a number of sequestered and/or outspoken GOP's. They have high hopes for the ultimate balance of political viewpoints at TIP, but realize that this will in all likelihood never happen.
Also noteworthy were three fourth year Republicans at East, Term 1 in 2003 whose speech was a discussion concluding that the only thing better than TIP was the NRA.
Trinity University is where you are most likely to find Republicans, however, they are still in the minority.
At Duke East Term I 2008, the unthinkable happened. A super-republican named Scotty camed to TiP. BFF to Ann Coulter, Scotty roamed the campus, slandering "all the gays in San Fransisco" and trying to convert all the Jews he found to Christianity. Scotty's greatest challenge came in the form of Jordan R., whom he tried to convert one day while she was doing her laundry. She defended herself fiercely, summoning both her Jewish roommate Hannah and Julia the Jew Next Door, until Scotty whipped out his pocket New Testament. Utterly thrilled, the Jewish TiPsters debated him until Jordan's laundry was dry, at which point they left. On WaSW, Scotty freaked out at all of the crossdressers and whacked any guy he saw with his bible. He was loved. During the entire term, Cat Hollander tried desperately to track him down, but failed terribly. She is a republican too, which seriously detracts from her awesomeness. Sorry. This information is sadly outdated.
At Duke East Term II 2019, Alexander Duckwitz was the most outspoken Conservative for a long time to attend, and while he made no attempt to hide the fact he disagreed with Gayness and the LGBT community in general, he later stated, "You have turned me from a level of disagreement and attempting to force heterosexuality on most people, to a level of tolerance, and while you all may not see that as spectacular, it's better than my views on that ever would be, and TIP has given me new respect and empathy for the LGBT." While he has never had more than two other Republicans or at least right-leaning people in class, the three most notable are Micheal Sigel (Wake, Term I, 2018), and Zev Honeycutt and Adam Chiacco, (both Democrats who disagreed with the alleged, "Communist views" of PCULT.
To all who have edited above, regardless of political affiliation.
Everyone has been, to a certain extent, conditioned to believe certain viewpoints.
This may stem from your race and sexual orientation.
This may stem from what political affiliation your family has.
This may stem from where you go to school.
This may stem from what region of the country you have been brought up in.
And while everyone has the opportunity to seek truth, most do so in a context where a fully informed truth simply is hard to obtain.
In this context, all we can hope for is acceptance and a commitment to change for the better.
Realize this conditioning and that everyone believes that what they believe is true. Strive to acknowledge others' arguments and, if they're good, change your perspective accordingly. If positions seem wrong and fallacious, ask why. The reality is that every opinion is based on a combination of environmental conditioning and fact, to varying degrees--try to figure out which. Maybe they have a valid argument--if so, try to talk it out with them. Seek to understand. Maybe they don't have a well-developed argument, and their position seems fallacious. Don't be angry. Recognize that it's probably a product of circumstance. If they blindly believe an argument, dig deeper. Ask questions that hopefully digs to the root of the position and changes their mind.
Most of all, don't think even for a millisecond that you, yes you, you reading this right now, are immune. Don't assume you're right all the time. Acknowledging your flaws, misconceptions, preconceptions is key--only once you know your flaws can you refine yourself.
This is not to say that engagement with toxic individuals can be productive. Some are unrelenting in their beliefs and wish nothing but discord on others (read: whoever posted 'burn the gays'). The approach above is only useful in situations where the other person is legit and wants to talk politics, religion, policy. Yet the vast majority of individuals are, IMO, good people. And if you unknowingly engage with a toxic person, shit, at least you were a decent human being about it.
This is also not to say you're not right. Shit, you could be the most 200IQ debate & politics extraordinaire in the freakin' universe.
All I'm askin' is, *always* extend an ear and listen to the other side. You never know when they might have a good point.