I’ll admit I was a little disappointed to see that I wasn’t made fun of in the April Fool’s edition of the CT, but then again, I’m not sure what you can do after having me spout Marx.

Yet, at the same time, I am kind of happy I wasn’t included there. Perhaps the seriousness of some issues, such as the Pope’s and Terri Schiavo’s death, have made me see that there is a bit too much vitriol out there.

Let’s look at what is out there. Howard Dean delivered one of the worst backhanded compliments – heck, lets just call it an insult – in saying, “I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for, but I admire their discipline and their organization.”

William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, was hit with a pie thrown by a student while giving a speech at Earlham College.

Ann Coulter called for a “New McCarthyism” against liberals on campus and in the public sphere.

Maureen Dowd calls the Bush administration a theocracy, where the Republican Party is simply a tool of the church.

Meanwhile, Republicans cry out that we’re in a culture of death and fighting against the evil judiciary.

Sheesh, now I feel kind of bad I complained about having a hate group.

There are a ton of issues out there that need attention.

We have the issue of Social Security – we have the issue of potential Supreme Court justice appointments, let alone the issue of Iraq.

Yet, when we need a reasoned debate, it seems we couldn’t buy one out of our leaders.

I’ll admit we’re somewhat to blame. Forget blaming the politicians and pundits, they usually get their best ammunition from us.

Heck, I’ve probably stepped on more than a few toes in an attempt to make a point or, in my mind at least, be humorous.

Since I should start with myself, for that I’ll apologize now to all those people who thought I’ve poured a bit too much vitriol out on them.

At the same time, I think there’s plenty of us out there, left and right, who’ve gone a little crazy about the other side. It’s interesting – we’ll complain about some of the statements I listed above, and yet we never seem to think we’re to blame. We routinely complain here on campus about how none of the “real issues” are discussed and how Washington is so out of touch. Yet, what do we do to help it? Are we likely to try and expand our horizons and get into informed debates with those around us, or are we more apt to simply label our opponents and move on?

So, how about a challenge? Since April Fool’s Day just happened, lets do something “foolish.” Go seek out someone you disagree with and discuss an issue with them.

Make it rational, make it informative and even agree to disagree. Make an effort to learn what the other side truly thinks, not just what you assume about them.

Here at college, we say a lot about change, education and tolerance. Well, why don’t we put actions to our words? Perhaps being “foolish” will actually make you wise in the way that counts.

Clemm can be reached at rclemm@campustimes.org.

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