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A couple of weeks before Election Day, a few members of College Republicans took time out of their busy schedules to make a banner to be hung in Wilson Commons. The banner was excellent, simply stating “Vote Romney Nov. 6! College Republicans” with the Republican elephant logo, and I was really proud of the work our members had put into it. According to staff in Wilson Commons, the banner was hung up 10 days prior to the election, but mysteriously, the morning after it was hung, no one was able to find it.
Through discussions with Wilson Commons staff and our adviser, we have come to the unfortunate conclusion that some narrow-minded individual decided to steal our banner, an act so foolish I had never considered the possibility of it happening to any campus group. We knew the election wasn’t going to be decided by our banner, but we knew it would be fun to make and we’d be proud to see it hanging for the week prior to the election. It was just a banner, which is why I’m not asking the University to go to great lengths to find the thief, but I’m still confounded to no end as to why someone would go to the effort and risk of tampering with it.
If I see that a group on campus is bringing a speaker whose viewpoints I disagree with, I don’t sneak through the tunnels ripping up their flyers. Instead, I do my best to attend the event to get a better understanding of liberal positions and ask serious questions regarding the matter.
That said, the medium of political discussion and debate on campus cannot be one in which opposing sides tear each other down, literally or figuratively. Instead, we have to engage each other with our ideas, know why our classmates hold the beliefs they do and fully grasp both the arguments for and against those beliefs. Doing so will lead to a more open and productive political debate on campus and create a political environment deeper than the shallow talking points we hear our politicians and cable news pundits on both sides repeat.
With that mindset, College Republicans frequently holds both academic and social events with  College Democrats and the Committee for Political Engagement. Because of these events, I know the members of College Democrats well, and I’m highly confident that none of them would ever take down a College Republicans banner or flyer.
Whoever took our banner did a greater disservice to the liberal movement than they did to our club. They’ve made it look like every left winger is capable of falling prey to this type of rash activity, thus damaging the reputation of liberals as a whole. The hard work done by a majority of the left to shape public opinion through reasonable means is overshadowed by one person’s selfish desire to diminish the fruits of others’ hard work.
An individual who resorts to such shady tactics clearly lacks the intelligence to confront their peers on the other side in an honest, intellectual debate.
To whoever did this, the College Republicans welcome you to attend any of our weekly meetings ­— once you’re ready to talk about our values and positions in an educated conversation.
Russell is a member of the class of 2013.

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