Is the Most Liberal State Really all that Liberal?

Gavin D’Souza '17, Contributor

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This past June, I along with three other members of the B.C. High student body attended the Massachusetts Boys State conference. This week long event ran from June 11 to June 17, and was held on the campus of Stonehill College. As someone interested in government, I was very excited to attend. I expected that this program would allow me to experience how the government actually works. I didn’t expect, however, that while attending I would get to interact with individuals with such a wide variety of different political ideologies.

At first I expected most of the participants to have either Liberal or Centrist viewpoints. After all this is Massachusetts Boys State, and Massachusetts is often regarded as one of the most liberal states in the U.S. My experiences on the first day, however, shattered this belief. While a majority of individuals there were liberal, there was also a large amount who held conservative viewpoints on a range of different issues from gun control to abortion. One experience I had with this was when members of the party I was placed in began debating what positions we should adopt on certain issues. When we reached the topic of abortion there were some individuals who were avid Pro-Life supporters (such as Declan Leary ’17) and others who wanted to take a Pro-Choice stance. Differences like these often led to loud, passionate, but healthy debates. As an independent, I realized that they were all fighting to protect the rights of individuals, but just differed on ideas of how we ought to protect those rights.

Throughout the days I noticed that most of those with primarily conservative ideals mainly came from Western Massachusetts, while those with more liberal or centrist views came from the Greater Boston Area. This led me to ponder upon how people from Massachusetts are classified politically as a whole. A recent article by the Boston Globe spoke to this point. The article talked about how there are certain towns in Massachusetts that tend to vote Republican, even though they are in a majority Democratic state. While the liberal classification works in regard to the Boston area, it does not do justice to those Bay Staters in Western Massachusetts.

Have we, and the country as a whole, hastily generalized the political culture of Massachusetts? I leave this up to the readers to decide. Maybe one day take a trip into Western Massachusetts and make your own decision about whether the popular classification of this state, our state, is all that correct.

If I had not participated in the Boys State Program I would not have been made aware of this fact. I encourage all current juniors interested in government to look into this program. It really shaped my understanding of how government works, and gives participants the opportunity to interact with kids from all across Massachusetts. Furthermore, this program introduced me to new ways in which I can participate in my local government and be a more active member within my community. The most important lesson I took away from this program, however, was that even though we may disagree on different issues, we must all remember the core values which we all share and respect each individual’s right to their own opinion.

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Is the Most Liberal State Really all that Liberal?