By Jenny Macler ’23
In the upcoming school year, The Frederick Gunn School’s political club, known as the Gray Party, is embarking on a project to strengthen American democracy by depolarizing political conversations.
America’s democracy faces three major threats: anti-democratic attitudes, support for partisan violence, and partisan hostility. As a team, the club plans to tackle these issues by researching the worldviews and mindsets that shape these challenges as well as devising a plan to reduce the presence of political incivility on The Frederick Gunn campus. Come spring, the club hopes to carry out their prepared solutions in order to encourage students in their journeys to becoming responsible citizens.
The project, although beginning within the small Gunn community, will go beyond this campus. As new classes enter the school and old classes leave, the Gunn community will continue to grow and disperse their values. The Gray Party has also expressed ambitions to broaden their project by reaching out to nearby boarding schools with the goal of building up new democratically-minded generations of citizens together.
A leading member of the Gray Party, Graham Ince, expressed why having a “safe space to discuss politics” is so important to the Frederick Gunn campus: “Democracy doesn’t work unless people buy in [to it] and trust the systems and understand it.” The Gray Party provides that medium to share opinions and become more educated on American democracy.
The Gray Party has many other ambitions for the future, including registering eligible students to vote and holding mock elections on campus for all students to participate in. Members of the Gray Party will research American democracy, create informative presentations, and help connect the student body to the resources they need to be responsible and knowledgeable citizens. “Everybody should come to the Gray Party,” Graham expressed. “It’s a club that doesn’t care who you are [or] where you’re from. There’s discussions to be had [and] we’ll talk about politics from all over the world.”