The duty we all have to engage in communities around us.

By Editorial Board

Protests, rallies, yard signs, elections—these days, it would seem we’re surrounded by democracy all the time. Yet with rampant misinformation, mistrust and polarization, democracy is, in a sense, under attack. After all, we live in a time when a lost election is a rigged one. Voting is a privilege and not a right. Violence is the answer. Political disagreement is personal disagreement. Ignorance is strength. Under these circumstances, even the most optimistic among us are bound to feel disillusioned.

Despite this—no, because of this—it is more important than ever that we retain a sense of solidarity in support of democratic values. After all, it is our generation, for better or worse, that has the burden and privilege of restoring our faith in democracy and sense of civic pride. It is our generation that may finally realize our Founding Fathers’ ideal of government of, by and for the people.

We’ve got to start somewhere, so let’s start local and even here within the walls of UAHS. Research the issues and vote. Canvass for a cause important to you. Join a UAHS political group, be it UA Equity Project or Turning Point.

And democracy isn’t just about voting and politics. It’s about civility and consensus-building. It’s about working together. It’s about getting along with people from different backgrounds, identities, perspectives and beliefs.

So debate. Participate in class discussions. Learn to find common ground and respectfully disagree. Resist the culture of mob rage and vitriol that has become the norm in the national political scene. Pitchfork politics are appealing but ultimately destructive to our common goals.

The role of a free and independent press in all this cannot be understated; it is the lubricant to the complicated machinery that is our democracy. In the era of alternative facts, fake news, echo chambers and culture wars, we can live in a world entirely detached from reality—and each other.

More than ever, then, a free and open exchange of news, information and ideas is crucial. We, as your classmates and as student journalists, strive to impartially inform the student body and make it as easy as possible for them to civilly engage in the democratic process. As a publication, we are proud and fortunate to be financially and editorially independent from school administration. So inform yourself. Write a letter to the editor about an issue important to you. Engage in the marketplace of ideas.

Democracy is often seen as something elusive, intangible and ethereal, and it’s unrealistic to strive for some kumbaya utopia. Democracy is messy, yes, but we—as a school, community and country—must commit ourselves to upholding it. With so much having changed in just the past decade, we have an opportunity, unlike any since the time of FDR, to rebuild America in a more inclusive and civil image.

So yes, there’s a long road ahead—one of restoration, healing and hard questions—but we have a duty to walk it.