By Tate Luckey
As Mark Twain puts it “The trouble with the world is not that people know too little; it’s that they know so many things that just aren’t so.”
Coach Driskell and I find that this quote is especially relevant today. Politics in the last few years has become a pretty divisive issue, and many will tell you it’s more arguing and berating than listening and understanding. With the election of President Donald Trump, there have been lots of misconceptions about what values both the left and right have.
To junior Davis Zimmerman, conservative values consist of 4 main points: “a limited federal government, lower taxes, pro business, and America first.”
In a high school setting, one may be curious about opportunities for forming new relationships and bonding with those of similar beliefs. Male provides many platforms for the average student to do this. One such newly formed club is the Young Conservative Club, sponsored by Coach Driskell and is the genesis of Davis. After talking with him I learned that the main reason why he formed the club was to give people a voice.
“I talked to some people around school and learned there were lots of conservatives, but they were just very quiet. I wanted us to be able to speak freely without being oppressed.”
He also described the throes he had to go through to get a club like this formed, “ I went to 2-3 SBDM meetings and we’re still not technically a [recognized] club. We were questioned if we were forming this out of some sort of spite, and even Coach Driskell received some backlash [for sponsoring us] in the break rooms, and that really shouldn’t happen.”
I attended their first meeting, and decided to take some notes and describe to you what it is they do.
The most important thing to know about this club is that both Coach Driskell and Davis Zimmerman want the club to not be seen as offensive or non-inclusive. Zimmerman noted his biggest point in running a club like this is “to have political opportunities for students” (and as a side note, Zimmerman wanted me to know the club had no correlation to a “white student union”, a club that last year supposedly tried to form as a counter to the Black Student Union).
Coach Driskell gave me a lot of insight as to why he decided to sponsor a club like this. A fact that surprised many of those who attended is that Coach Driskell is actually a Democrat. He originally wasn’t interested in a club such as this, only because it didn’t represent his specific values. He admits though, that this was only due to his ignorance.
“90% of everything is perception, but I talked to Davis and he gave me the information, and it was quite the contrary of what I’d heard. And when it’s get right down to it, I want to support young people [like Davis].” He hopes that others realize that you should not judge people based on a certain stereotype.
Davis told me something similar, stating “I think people get a lot of their [political] views from what they see on social media. I mean, I’ve never even talked to some people and they think I’m a racist.”
After the formalities and introductions, the special guest of the club was Byron Fisher. He is the executive director and youth chair of the Jefferson County Republican Party. His job is to raise and spend money, manage and recruit candidates. He’s worked with the reelection of McConnell and was a page during the 2012 National Convention. He’s also a graduate of Iroquois High School and coincidentally while he was there tried to form a Young Conservative Club, but it fell short in terms of membership. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.
He started the meeting by wanting to stress that as teens it is so important to make your voice heard, as near everything you do is determined by politics. For the sake of objectivity and encouraging those to attend I will omit what exactly they discussed, but essentially the meeting was just a brief overview of the values of modern conservatism (the 4 points I mentioned earlier) and a discussion of current events. He wanted to emphasize that “it’s important to be able to agree and disagree. It doesn’t make you racist, sexist, etc… It just means we disagree.”
One thing I found that Byron and Coach Driskell both agree on, for those who don’t necessarily have a political identity, is that you should stay open. As Mr. Fischer put it, “One of the best things about America is that you have a right to choose. I would encourage everybody to try and do their research, and try to be as objective as possible. We can’t drop our biases, but we can do our best.” and for those who may argue their vote doesn’t matter, he disagrees.
“I had a candidate for the Metro Council in the South End of Louisville, and the winning candidate won by 4 votes. In 2018, in the State House of Representatives there were 6 elections that were decided by less than 30 votes. One was decided by 4, one by 1, one by 6, etc. Voting is important because it’s how you have a voice.”
As Coach Driskell puts it “I want this club to be quite the contrary, instead of being something that’s perceived as divisive something that’s receptive to all.”
It’s quite clear that even at a school level, politics can be a hot button issue. Davis hopes that through a club like it will help break such prejudices and that people will keep their minds open. Of the 31 that attended the first meeting, he is “really proud of these young people [who] are able to show their beliefs and opinions without being oppressed.”
If you’re interested in attending, they apparently meet once a month, but you should contact Coach Driskell or Davis for more information.