The commonality among each passing generation is the pursuit of advancing the country for our children’s future. However, Americans are increasingly concerned regarding the state of affairs once millennials start holding positions of power. Nearly half of all millennials are, after all, quite humorously overspending on items such as avocado toast, as outlined by Liberty Nation’s Andrew Moran.
For our second interview, Liberty Nation once again took to the University of Central Florida to speak with millennials regarding their take of the country’s current and future political atmospheres. LN met with Stephen Beale, President of UCF Progressive Action, a democratically socialist club initially designed as a support group for Vermont’s Independent Senator, Bernie Sanders. The outcome of the interview may surprise readers.
LN: Do you feel that UCF encourages or suppresses free speech on campus?
Mr. Beale: UCF tends to repress freedom of expression. I’ve previously run into problems when I had a job registering voters and was disallowed to do that outside of the UCF free speech zone.
LN: Do you feel comfortable expressing your beliefs on campus, or do you ever hide your opinions out of fears of discrimination from colleagues or professors?
Mr. Beale: There is immense pressure not to voice particular views. I do not want to jump through hoops to determine how I should make someone feel comfortable. Our club has recently received backlash from Planned Parenthood over some innocuous comments by our members resulting in our group being called “transphobic” on our Facebook page, Progressive Action at UCF. As for professors, some are very willing to debate with students and not pressure them.
LN: That’s quite a different response compared to what I received from Young Americans for Liberty. They explained feeling pressured into displaying liberal beliefs in some classes.
Mr. Beale: I could see it happening. My girlfriend is here, and she has something she’d like to say about this.
Mr. Beale’s girlfriend: I enrolled in a multicultural class over the summer, and my professor believed that when discrimination occurs against white people, it’s not racism but something else. That is a direct quote, “It is something else.” I wrote many essays for that class and felt pressured to criticize white culture in the assignments.
LN: What are your feelings regarding white privilege and the current racial tensions in the U.S., and do you believe that President Trump holds racist positions?
Mr. Beale: I haven’t heard President Trump say anything legitimately racist. As for racial tensions, there are certain circumstances in which whiteness is advantageous, but it’s predominantly socioeconomic status that grants the privilege.
LN: What would you specifically like to see the Trump Administration do for our nation’s youth?
Mr. Beale: I want to see reform to the campaign finance system with much greater restrictions on Super PACs. There also needs to be some limit on the amount that someone can give to a political campaign.
LN: What is something you would like to say to political parties on opposing sides of the spectrum?
Mr. Beale: Something I would like to say to other parties, including my party, is let’s talk about the actual issues, facts, and numbers, and stop trying to morph the opposition’s standpoints into something grotesque.
LN: I reached out to the UCF Democrats and the Knights for Socialism through various means in an attempt to create an open dialogue, but they did not respond. What are your thoughts on those groups?
Mr. Beale: Knight for Socialism is not very open to being rational or reasonable to any extent. They take the outlook that any and all conservatives are collaborators or actively part of the Nazi Party. Progressive Action comes from a much more understanding place, and we work with people with different perspectives toward ends that we can all agree are admirable.
Hope for the Future
The democratically socialist UCF Progressive Action certainly made a positive impression. Although we may differ politically, all could agree that working with others holding different beliefs is admirable and crucial in the polarized political atmosphere the U.S. currently faces. Although the UCF College Democrats and Knights for Socialism refused to cooperate, displaying negative outcomes to future dialogue, Young Americans for Liberty and Progressive Action both offer a refreshing commitment to progressing our country. We also learned that some UCF professors might need education on upholding UCF’s creed of integrity, scholarship, community, creativity, and excellence, as students should never be made to feel pressured to repress their political views for the sake of their grades.