A Democrat and a Republican are in agreement at Weatherford College.
Callie Stout and Emilio De Los Reyes, who respectively lead their campus’ Democrat and Republican clubs, probably do not agree on most policies.
But each is passionate about convincing their fellow young people that politics isn’t just for their parents and grandparents.
And each agrees many of their generation get what limited political information they have from the wrong sources, including social media silos.
“Combating it, you can go on social media,” De Los Reyes said. “And read more than one article. One of the ways I would use (to vet sources) is reading multiple articles on the same subject. And read opposing views.”
The 15-year-old homeschooled college freshman said he includes both right-wing FOX News and left-side MSNBC in his television diet.
His counterpart is on the same page when it comes to filtering sources. Both said the extreme voices on either side often are the only ones that reach their peers.
“And I feel, more than anything, it either drives younger people to engage in the extreme behavior or it drives them from politics altogether,” said Stout, 24.
The two politicos are leading nascent groups, with Stout counting “five involved members” and De Los Reyes tallying “six or seven.”
The Ds are a little bit ahead in recruitment efforts, having staffed booths during Welcome Week and at a campus cookout.
“And we had as many as upwards of three dozen people show interest,” Stout said. “As far as recruiting goes … we are trying to stay non-aggressive. If they want, they can come up to us.”
De Los Reyes said he’s used his short time atop the campus GOP fashioning a budget, and he twice fell ill but tested negative for COVID. The group is still organizing a regular meeting time.
He plans to set up booths at campus events, stage debates, post club news on doors and use email to promote the club during his two years at the college.
He anticipates some will respond that politics can wait until the salad days of youth have passed.
“In a way, my response to that is, we’re the future generation,” De Los Reyes said. “Why wait till later? And, start to get educated right now.”
The Democrat agreed.
“That’s another barrier I see for young people, that politics is for ‘grown people,’” Stout said. “Getting involved in politics on a smaller or local scale is easier.”
The Weatherford Young Democrats meet at noon on the first and third Mondays in room 110 at the Don Allen Health and Science Building.
Students interested in the GOP club can email De Los Reyes at email@example.com.
More information on both clubs, including faculty sponsors’ contact phones, can be found on the college’s website, at wc.edu.Click on ‘Student Resources’ at the top of the main page and scroll down to ‘Organizations and Clubs.’