Friday, February 20, 2009

Unpartisan Role Model

My college is "dry." This is to say, there is no permitted consumption of alcohol. Something about this has always bugged me: it kills any dialog about responsible use. Like the abstinence only sex educator in High School, any talk about alcohol with administration or some faculty feels shallow and even, at times, fraudulent.

Currently I am in a government class at the High School and am trying very hard to remain nonpartisan in the way I present information, but it goes father than that. If students ask questions about my own beliefs, I dodge or reflect them. At every moment I try to give away my own beliefs as little as possible.

I feel this is important, as my role should be to facilitate their understanding of their own beliefs. At the same time though, I wonder if my lack of honest dialog is as obvious and awkward to them as the above mention situations are to me.

Couldn't I be honest about my beliefs and yet still present information in a nonpartisan way? Would not honest dialog about my own struggles with, and development of, my political beliefs help them understand what it means to be an active and caring public? But at the same time, the line is so fine. Once crossed would I be able to be nonpartisan, once the precedent is set would they accept going back to hearing the vanilla-flavor centrist perspective again? Or would they begin to constantly ask me about my personal take on each lesson? Also, as a role model would not my honesty still influence them, even if I did not try to actively convert them to my side of the political spectrum? Or am I even kidding myself that I would be that important to them, or even the fact that I am currently succeeding at my deception. How many of them know what I believe?

That really trick is that to know the answers to any of these questions requires honest dialog. And I'm not sure it would be appropriate.

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