Trip to nation's capital is eye-opening experience for lifetime conservative


Abby Landwehr

PHS Prowl reporters walk to Capitol Hill. From left: adviser Vin Cappiello, senior Lauren Lejeune, senior Lauren DeWitz, senior Rachel Kuntz.

I have spent my entire life living in the conservative capital of the Intermountain West, which has significantly impacted the views I’ve formed.

But just because I’ve grown up around strong, opinionated people doesn’t mean I haven’t developed my own opinions throughout my life. Even if these views are similar, I like to believe I’m not just a sheep being fed the red pill.

Recently I had the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. for the National Highschool Journalism Convention. We listened to well known speakers including Chuck Todd and the inspirational famous Marybeth Tinker, attended workshops and explored the country’s Capitol as any visitor should do.

I also met a plethora of different people. All types of people. It reminded me of a gigantic plus-sized crayon box. Blues, reds, pinks and greens and bright yellows.

I saw people from all walks of life. I met students who acted and looked nothing like me, even if our views were polar opposites. But I was enthralled to hear what they had to say. Taking it in, soaking it up like a sponge. It was like my brain was a palette of diversified tastes.

Conservative thinkers were the minority at this particular convention. I’ve never been the minority. Not for a single moment of my life has my ideologies been the minority. Sometimes I felt like a tiny fish caught in a huge storm, trying to swim through huge waves of foreign ideas, just to make sense of even a tiny bit of what I was hearing.

I saw people from all walks of life. I met students who acted and looked nothing like me, even if our views were polar opposites.”

— Lauren Lejeune, Prowl Opinion Editor

And that’s how it was too on the streets of D.C. Our first night there we were getting off the train and a black man was upset that a white man hadn’t moved when people were trying to get off (which he was in the way) and the woman he was with commented that he didn’t move because he was white.

I don’t have to worry about things like that where I’m from. Our African-American population is relatively small and even then everyone gets along just fine. I didn’t know how to feel; you could say my feathers were ruffled.

Rachel Kuntz and I were also heckled by passing drivers to remove our MAGA bucket hats. We didn’t. But you wouldn’t see that in Powell, WY, either.

There were homeless people littering the streets. A killed congressional bill graveyard. Discrimination from McDonald’s employees. All these things I witnessed made me realize I just might not know as much as I think I do.

And you know? I’m OK with that. I’m thankful I was able to submerge myself in a culture so different from my own and keep my mind open. It was a fresh feeling.

I’m OK with being the little guy. And my hope is that others can be too; gives you a lot to think about on a plane ride back to nowhere.

EDITOR’S NOTE: See related story and video.