Welcome to another Feature Friday! Today is a different kind of discussion and one that I’m excited about. The Instagram page allsidesconsidered is a page run by three different people with three different political views. I’ve been really impressed with what they have to say on their blog and IG as well as in this interview. I’m really glad I found them and feel so fortunate they all took the time to talk to me.
I hope you enjoy getting to know all of them as much as I did and go give their page and blog a follow.
- Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Conservative: My name is Vikram, I’ve lived in Seattle my entire life, and I love distance running. I really only got into politics about two years ago but even then I found myself regurgitating the same old republican points that I heard my dad talking about. After getting whooped in some casual debates with friends, many whom are liberal, I took it upon myself to learn more and dive deeper into political issues and understand the ins and outs of the problems that plague our great nation.
Socialist: My name is Tom Kurtz, I was born in California but have lived in the Seattle area since I was six. I love playing soccer, traveling, and relaxing with friends whenever I have free time. I’ve been interested in politics ever since the 2012 election; I watched the debates between Obama and Romney and found them riveting.
Liberal: My name is Noah; I have always enjoyed history but have been actively following politics since listening to NPR every morning starting about 4-5 years ago. I love all things sports, music, and art. Especially soccer and jazz.
- Can you tell me about All.Sides.Considered?
Conservative: Every week we tackle an issue that is relevant to society, rather than have hate-filled rhetoric bashing the opposing sides, we put our views on our blog and then we feature a ‘common solution’ section in which we compromise and seek a solution that appeases both sides. Although both sides will never really be too happy with the common solution, it does serve to show how we can work together and be open to opposing ideas.Socialist: All.sides.considered is a political blog that seeks to provide something that really matters in such a polarizing political climate: perspective. Far too often, we see media and the press, crucial things in our society, corrupted by partisans trying to push their agenda. We wanted to counter that and provide people with something that appeals to everyone.
Liberal: All Sides Considered is a great platform where I am able to understand different viewpoints in order to find the solution I feel is the best. While these viewpoints may shape and mold my opinions, they also help me grow more conviction in them.
- How did you meet your fellow admins?
Conservative: We are all childhood friends. Being extremely close with one another really plays into our success because our political discourse isn’t artificial, we do disagree over various subject matters however we settle it peacefully and seek to learn more from these situations rather than let our disagreements devolve into a screaming match.
Socialist: I met Vikram Tirumalai in elementary school and we have been good friends ever since he still lives right by me. As for Mr. Wong, I met him in secondary school in my English class and we struck up a friendship over our love for soccer and cities.
Liberal: I met my fellow admins in school, and have been great friends.
- What prompted you to start All.Sides.Considered?
Conservative: After Trump was elected, we found political discourse to have become much more charged and hate-filled. In an effort to show how people can cooperate and be civil about dissenting opinions, we used our good friendship to start “Dual Opinion”.
Socialist: I think we see so often nowadays that people are so attached to their ideologies and beliefs they won’t even sit down and talk with those who have different views. Especially after the election of President Trump, I noticed a disturbing trend where people from both sides were being called all sorts of names, there was a complete lack of civility. Mr. Tirumalai, Mr. Wong and I believe that this trend must be reversed, and that’s why we decided to start all.sides.considered.
Liberal: I was inspired to start All Sides Considered to help learn more about politics and how the world works, but also to help discover my beliefs.
- How did you come up with the name All.Sides.Considered?
Conservative: The reason our blog was called “Dual Opinion”, is because our blogs were initially contrasted between a liberal point of view and conservative point of view, however after adding, Tom, a Democratic Socialist, we changed it to “All Sides Considered”. Although we are missing the libertarian point of view, we are aware of what we lack and do try to make up for it in the conservative blog section by occasionally throwing in libertarian perspectives. We also have a libertarian scheduled to join the team in May 2018.
Socialist: We all are big fans of NPR’s program “All Things Considered”, and decided to make our own spin-off of that.
Liberal: The name All Sides Considered comes from the fact that we try to tackle an issue by looking at it from multiple viewpoints, not the one our political ideologies are subscribed too.
- When I reached out you let me know you have a liberal, conservative, and socialist; which one are you and what does that certain set of ideals me to you?
Conservative: I’m the conservative. I believe in the idea of a smaller government and liberty for everyone. I feel that structure is necessary in our governmental system however we must prevent government overreach. I believe in less taxation and more domestic output, I do not like what corporations are doing to get out of the country so they can jump through hoops and in turn better other governments while reaping the fruits of their labor that started in America, this is why I like Trump’s new tax plan. I believe in a strong military and putting our own citizens first, growing our economy, and maintaining our status as the best country in the world. I could go on a tangent about all my very specific beliefs however that would take too long, but for a broad statement, I believe in traditional American values – hard work, ethics, efficiency, and equality.
Socialist: To me, being a socialist means being an ally of the working class of the world. Anyone who believes in solidarity with oppressed people, economic and social justice, and for revolutionary change should be a socialist. Karl Marx noted we live in a society where profits are privatized and losses are socialized. That must change, and only a socialist society can address this problem.
Liberal: I feel as though the ideals I believe in are most moral, will help benefit and further society as a whole.
- Is it difficult to run an IG account with two other people with differing views from your own?
Conservative: Not at all. We are all really good friends and plus, the majority of our posts feature open-ended questions and are non-opinionated. We like to create a forum for people to discuss daily issues there and we have had some really good debates with our cherished followers recently.
Socialist: It is not very difficult. While I have my disagreements with Noah and Vikram, we all can appreciate one another without much conflict.
Liberal: I find it rewarding to run this IG account. Although our political ideologies may differ, we find that we all work in cohesion to make this platform as successful as it can be.
- What does it mean to you to be an activist?
Conservative: Being a conservative in a blue state is tough. I started the blog with Noah so I could have an outlet to express my views and create contrasting opinion, more than once during a debate people have ridiculed the Republican Party as a bunch of “racists” and “xenophobes”, these occurrences resulted in me shying away from actually debating and I switched to observing debates as they happened. As I’ve noticed, there’s no real good way to be extremely staunch in your republican beliefs in Seattle without isolating/distancing yourself from people, politics is a very tricky subject. My activism is expressed within this blog in an effort to maintain the relationships I have, however throughout my experience in Washington, I have developed a great amount of respect for liberals. Although I disagree with them on numerous subjects, I do admire those who are well-versed and respectful throughout debates.
Socialist: To me, being an activist is a great step forward into the political fray, because it signifies an important realization: I can create change. I matter. and while the current political climate may make it a rough time to be an activist, by no means that means one shouldn’t try. power to the people.
Liberal: It means speaking for what I believe in and righting the wrong, where others may not do so.
- What personal experiences drew you to be an activist?
Conservative: After President Trump’s election I was jubilant, however there were people who were having emotional breakdowns because he was coming to office. Seeing everyone bash him ruthlessly, and I mean literally EVERYONE, really drove me to find an outlet to express my views. If I had expressed them, I would have gotten ridiculed. This is why I love this blog so much. The blog has increased my political acumen and has also resulted in me gaining more confidence over my own ability to speak up and voice my opinion on various topics. I find that especially after writing about a specific topic and diving deep into the subject material, I am more well-versed in it already than a lot of the people who have strong feelings about the matter.
Socialist: Growing up where I did, I didn’t face many struggles. However, as I traveled across the country growing up, I saw firsthand many of the social problems that the United States faces. I remember asking why something hadn’t been done. that’s how I got into politics and activism: that question of how and why.
Liberal: All the domestic and global political stories I hear on NPR drew me to issues that I was able to connect with, helping me become an activist.
- Have you ever experienced any threats because of what you’re doing?
Conservative: Thankfully no.
Socialist: No, we haven’t received threats, thankfully.
- Do these threats every make you reconsider what you’re doing?
Conservative: Although we haven’t had any threats yet, if we get any in the future we would just block the user. Our forum for civil discourse prides itself on civility, without that, we’re useless. The civility not only comes from us admins, but must come from our followers too.
Liberal: I do not believe I have felt threatened before for what I am doing.
- What do you feel is your biggest focus?
Conservative: We set a lot of short-term and long-term goals. Our goals of purchasing our own domain and getting 500 followers have been achieved. We are growing faster than ever and for this reason our next short-term goal is 1,000 followers. Our long-term goal is getting a local news station like King 5 Seattle to feature us and give us a boost in popularity. Exposure to media would be a really cool thing for our blog. Our super long-term goal is to get on national TV on a major news station and gain publicity this way, whether it be Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, etc. it would be a major achievement for us.
Socialist: My biggest focus is trying to shed light on things people may not know about, as well as listening. Educating, but also listening. There is always something I don’t know, and acquiring new information and facts always is a good thing.
Liberal: My biggest focus is local politics. Although we do not write much about our local issues, these decisions and policies are what make the most difference in our communities.
- If there was one activist resource that you wish everyone would read or view what would it be?
Conservative: Steven Crowder is my FAVORITE conservative activist. Although you won’t find him organizing rallies, he does attempt to bring political change by creating really entertaining, lively videos. He comes across as a really friendly, personable guy that is easy to relate to. I think everyone, regardless of their political affiliation should check him out because he has a LOT of videos, and also occasionally shows differing perspectives (in the Change My Mind segments).
Socialist: Jacobin Magazine has great articles on a variety of topics from a socialist perspective.
- Is there anyone or any group of people who inspire you or prod you to action?
Conservative: I wouldn’t really say I’m inspired by anyone on my side but rather I’m inspired by people on the opposing side. Whenever I see somebody on the left discussing a topic I am completely unaware of, I get fairly annoyed at the prospect of them beating me in a debate or argument and promptly arm myself with information on topics so should the situation arise – I can beat them.
Socialist: My biggest influence would probably have to be Jeremy Corbyn. I closely watched Labour’s campaign in 2017 for the British snap election and his rhetoric and appeal to working-class people resonated with me.
- If you could change one thing about this world what would it be?
Conservative: Through our blog we hope to change the current attitude around dissenting opinions. This isn’t a problem that is exacerbated by the media, it is a legitimate issue of intolerance within America, our basic Constitutional rights are being infringed upon. Not by other nations, but by ourselves! The current culture/climate in America is ridiculous and needs a gut check to see how we have devolved and become intolerant, this must change.
Socialist: I would change the economic system we have to one that favors people over profit.