In last week’s column, the Editorial Board of the Old Gold & Black argued the importance of students educating themselves on the issues surrounding the 2016 race for the White House.
We claimed the stance that online sources such as the “I side with quiz” — a virtual multiple choice quiz that matches a participant’s ideological output with that of one of the presidential nominees — is a great place to start when learning about a candidate’s platform, yet believe students should then delve deeper into their own beliefs.
This week, we want to expand on our stance that while self education is pertinent to the collective responsibility of the individual in the political process, it is also imperative that we learn to respect and tolerate opposing stances and ideologies.
This year, some of the most heated debates and personal attacks between candidates have been seen on the campaign trail. As candidates share the same stage in national debates, we witness constant disrespect between the potential nominees.
Moreover, with substantial emphasis placed on social media, American citizens witness heightened levels of disagreement, perhaps leading to intensified polarization.
Although some candidates speak louder than others, each one appears to have fallen victim to this argumentative discourse that seemingly focuses solely on the imperfections of the opposition’s ideology rather than the plausible solutions to issues at hand.
While it is unequivocally disappointing to witness an election year filled with more pessimism than optimism — and more hate than hope — it is peremptory for individuals to resist this analogous trap of polarized ideology.
Polarized ideology that is based on disrespectful debate is what leads to walls that block out fruitful discussion.
As people feel ridiculed or personally ambushed for their beliefs, they become defensive and begin to focus less on the issues at hand and more on their critics.
The fundamental purpose of democracy is built to allow opposing stances to be posed and discussed. It is not built on defined political ideology automatically determining the direction of the evolving policies that guide our nation. Consequently, this creates gridlock which stagnates the progress our country needs.
On a college campus, students are consistently faced with opportunities to modify their own political ideologies by attending classes that require thoughtful reading and reflective discussion.
Moreover, students live in residential environments with peers of diverse backgrounds, life experiences and political affiliations.
It is important to converse with one another in order to remain open-minded in our beliefs, in addition to attaining a greater understanding of the ideologies of others.