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Sounding their Voices


Do gunshots echo in across the halls of the Capitol building really affect teenagers over 2000 miles away?

Students John Seden-Hansen, Ivan Cruz, Lottie Abascal, Nathan Moore, and Manuel Cruz, believe that it does. On Jan. 17, eleven days after the Washington D.C. riots, these students discussed the incident in a joint Zoom meeting. The group consisted of a diverse cast on the political spectrum in the hopes for meaningful conversations, differences of opinions, and maybe even some sort of consensus.

Throughout their discussion, the group would not agree on certain topics such as the impending impeachment; yet they did agree that the capitol violence overreached.

The group began their session with a question that would receive the same consensus among the students despite their differing, ages, grade levels, gender, and political parties: do you support the storming of the capital that occurred on January 6, 2021? 

“I think it was stupid and shouldn’t have happened,” Sophomore Nathan Moore said. “It [the D.C. Riots] makes Republicans look very bad in the way that they responded and for the reasons behind it. It just shouldn’t have happened, it makes us look stupid.”.

One by one, each member of the group affirmed their opposition for the violence that had occurred in America’s capital. For the two Cruz brothers, this event was more significant as it led to a notable shift away from the Republican party and towards the middle of the political spectrum.

“After seeing the, the DC, or the right in the Capitol, I’ve been moving back and forth between being in the middle or not.. I’m not exactly affiliating myself with the right. But, instead taking a step back for a little bit and letting myself reconsider my political standings as I think about what happened at the capital.”

Sophomore Ivan Cruz said.

“Yeah. I think for me personally it’s been a gradual shift from the right to the left,” his brother (Junior) Manuel Cruz said. “And now that these riots have happened, I think that might have sped up that process but overall, I can see that both sides are saying that this is wrong and In fact, some of the republican views I strongly agree with. But I think the DC riots have changed my views by a margin that may be small but is still there,”

The group’s shared sentiments reinforced the results of the survey Crimson released to PRHS students about the storming of the capital; when asked the same question the 98 percent of the 92 students that responded to the survey asserted that they were against the violence that had occured. 

Of those that took the survey, a majority of 65.6 percent believed that President Donald Trump had a hand in the eventual storming of the capital, and 61.4 percent believed that the President was rightfully impeached by the House of Representatives. About 8 percent believed that it wasn’t their place to make the decision and that they didn’t know enough about the topic to give a definitive answer, while 30.7 percent gave a concrete no.

John Seden-Hansen, a junior, believed the President’s second impeachment was just.

“Trump didn’t necessarily say go violently and break the windows, but he is a leader… He was the president and after fueling this kind of hatred inside people , he should be prepared for how people are going to act according to what he said’.”

Seden-Hansen explained.

The Articles of Impeachment passed by the House of Representatives on January 11, listed the reasons as to why President Donald Trump was impeached a second time.

“Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. Donald John Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States”.

Articles of impeachment

Moore disagreed with the impeachment decision. “He told his supporters to go over there peacefully and patriotically and not break stuff or harm other people. Trump has pushed that he is a law and order president, so he follows that wouldn’t call his supporters to do something with malicious intent, “ he said.

“I personally believe his supporters stormed the capital because they believed the election was stolen, because of all the dubious events that went on throughout the entire election, and that their voices weren’t being heard,” Moore continued. “And what do you do when you don’t have a voice? Well you try to make your voice heard. If you have no place to make your voice heard, then you march on the Capitol building. and They shouldn’t have gone violently to protest but they wanted to make their voice heard and felt like they had no other way to do it.”

Though the group was from different political backgrounds and agreed on some topics, the rest of the country is not as willing to compromise and talk with someone with completely different views than them. 

Political Polarization comes into focus as according to an study by Pew Research Center, “ideological overlap between the two parties has diminished: Today, 92% of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat, and 94% of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican. Partisan animosity has increased substantially over the same period..

Senior Lottie Abascal believes that the D.C. Riots will only widen the divide between the two political ideologies and parties.


“This is a group of people on the fringe of the Republican Party. These are Neo Nazis that were wearing shirts that said 6 million wasn’t enough in the Holocaust. This is a group of people who have lived on the edge of their party for so long and they’re making themselves known. They are projecting their message to the world through the news, and people are going to see that message and to recognize that they feel the same way. I think that this is going to really amplify the movement and it’s going to kind of spread.  And I don’t even know if there’s going to be an opportunity for things to rectify themselves like, I don’t know if there’s any going back.”

Abascal said.

President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial will be delayed until beginning-to-mid February. In order for Trump to be convicted, at least two-thirds of the senators must vote for impeachment. On January 27th, there was a trial to decide if President Trump’s second impeachment trial would commence. The 55 to 45 vote demonstrates that it is likely that the outcome will result in his acquittal because 17 Republicans would have to vote against party lines to get the 67 votes needed for the President to be impeached by the Senate. Only 5 crossed in when Republicans tried to vote against holding an impeachment trial for Trump.

“I think [Trump] getting impeached will result in sending a lot more Americans over the edge into believing that there is no hope for a fair election. They will view it as Democrats trying to take power and prevent a man who’s very popular from getting back into a position of power. It’s just a real slight scary thought in a way just to think, we don’t have as much in common anymore and this is probably not gonna help it in any way.”

Moore said in response.

Among students surveyed, 27 percent questioned the legitimacy of Biden’s electoral victory in the latest Crimson survey. 

Only time will tell if President Trump is impeached or acquitted, but no matter what happens in Washington D.C., the bearcats of Paso Robles following along and reacting.

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    Geoffrey Douglas LandJan 30, 2021 at 7:57 am

    Great story, Crimson. Fine idea to have a conversation among disparate voices of PRHS. As a Government and history teacher, it is encouraging to see Bearcats paying attention and engaging on important national issues in ways I have not seen during my two decades of teaching in Paso Robles. The search for truth never ends, but truth (as opposed to wild conspiracies) must guide our civic dialogue and governmental policies if we are to survive and thrive as a constitutional democracy. Lead on, Crimson.