"Without an informed public, the democracy will cease to exist."

The Patriot Press

Though We Disagree, I Got A Hug From Whoopi Goldberg

By Ekaterina Zelenin, Staff Writer

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WHHS journalism and TV production students all crammed into the unexpectedly small studio, anxiously awaiting to experience the making of live television.

On Tuesday, May 16th, my fellow students, and I took a special field trip to NYC where we got to sit as the audience and watch the live filming ABC’s The View. This field trip although, an impressive one, could have remained ordinary, had it not been for my own personal “active” involvement.

While filming the episode, the hosts of The View began discussing controversial topics surrounding Russia and its supposed involvement with current President Donald Trump. The allegations, needless to say, were brutal. With a panel of three rabid liberals and two timid conservatives, The View left little to no representation of well, the opposing more traditional view. Bashing the President’s actions, and making several pokes at the Conservative Party, the liberal hosts remained content with their “irrefutable” statements. Little did they know that amongst the audience sat a young Russian-American student supporting conservative traditions.

To start off, I disliked being the audience member because I had to sit quietly and remain composed despite serious and potentially false accusations against my political agenda and nationality. In the crowd, I felt faceless as we were told to react synthetically and not to express our beliefs. Every time the camera pointed towards us, we had to sit with stiff grins or commit forceful claps, awkwardly interrupted by obnoxiously fake laughter. No doubt much of the reactions amongst the viewers were genuine, but many students alongside me flinched whenever an anti-Republican joke made its way from the table.

Being an outspoken person who prefers to engage in conversations, especially when it comes to politics, I found it difficult to witness a one-sided attack, without having the ability to respond. Here sat five hosts, promoting tolerance, yet they completely bashed and mocked their opposing party for having different views. Luckily, this partitioned disarray did not last much longer.

During the commercial break, I was surprised that the studio comedian began browsing around the audience and making us interact with the hosts. Walking around the room, the man asked several questions one being who in the crowd actually liked our president. A few students and I raised our hands into the air. Coming up to a group of boys not far from me, the man asked them to explain why. One of them muttered: “I don’t know, I just like him,” which prompted Mrs. Del Moro,my journalism teacher, to ask the comedian to ask me as my hand was raised!

“I like President Trump because he promotes traditional values,” I simply stated. That’s when Whoopi Goldberg herself spun around in her chair and faced me with curiosity. Then she got up and faced me and asked for my reasoning behind the statement.

Suddenly I felt all eyes peer at me. I remember my knees trembling as the giant crowd listened to my explanation. Whoopi listened as well. She was a fair hostess, to say the least. Allowing me to state my points without interruption, she calmly questioned my opinions and allowed me to continue debating her. At first, I felt intimidated when Whoopi Goldberg decided to question my opinion, but after a little bit, I became more comfortable.

As I kept talking, I stopped seeing the hosts of the show as celebrities, but rather as political opponents engaging in a heated debate against me. The atmosphere reminded me of the practice debates we hold in our history classes, so I was very much in my own element when I was debating. Despite raising a few eyebrows and even receiving a chorus of “boo” from the crowd when I said that our “president is human, and makes mistakes,” my debating went fairly well. I stated my points clearly and stood my ground, even when the aggressive Joy Behar, began scolding me for my beliefs. Ironically, Joy held no credit to the show’s title, as she fully disrespected my political and religious views. It was, however, touching when the conservative host, along with Whoopi, defended me by saying that I was entitled to owning a different opinion.

After some hard-hitting back and forths, the hosts saw that neither side would back down from this fight. Stopping the ongoing debate, Whoopi offered me a hug and her own mug, which I appreciated and took as a token of peace from my challengers. As she hugged me she turned to the audience and noted that although she did not agree with my statements, she admired my courage and my ability to hold my own ground. Leaving back to my seat under the sound of applause, I was able to relax.

I felt much better, not because of the ceremonious movie-like sensation, but because I had done something productive. My voice had been heard by an enormous crowd; a terrifying, but equally exhilarating moment. That day my voice had served as a reminder that the world exists of different opinions and that to have true equality, we have to be able to listen and respect the views of others. Goldberg’s hug and praise showed the audience that even though my views may not coincide with theirs, there are plenty of people out there who think the same way I do and that our opinions should not be voided or judged.

The experience taught me not only about the productions of tv-shows, but it also reinforced my courage. I am grateful that I received the opportunity to explain my side and stand up for what I believe in. The field trip that could have been so ordinary, turned into something memorable because it solidified and strengthened my own character.           

         

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"Without an informed public, the democracy will cease to exist."
Though We Disagree, I Got A Hug From Whoopi Goldberg