As a political science major, I am consistently encouraged by my peers’ political participation and consistent civic commitment. Our campus continuously displays an immense care for public policy and improving the public good, a contagious attitude that pursues an ever better world.
With this participation comes passion. Passion is terrific. Passion is the fuel that drives the engine of change. But passion can be misleading. Passion can make us myopic, reactionary, even brash. Passion, when channeled incorrectly, can result in adverse effects.
As a community at a leading research university, we have the unique opportunity to largely shape the future and positively change the world around us. We can right the wrongs of those that have come before us.
As we have seen recently in our nation’s politics, polarized partisanship and political divide is a great issue. We have two parties that have completely different viewpoints. And, I’m afraid, this partisanship has spread to our campus.
As a Democrat, I have always supported my party’s agenda and my party’s strategy for achieving that agenda. I believe strongly in social equality, economic growth, and strong national security. However, recently, I have found myself at odds with how the party attempts to promote this agenda.
The best way to describe the current Democratic strategy would be resistance. We resist a Republican dominated Congress, a Republican White House, and a Republican status quo. To show this, we take action. We protest. We raise our voices and pick up our signs and march together to create change.
I encourage my fellow Democrats to review how well this strategy is working. I detest President Donald Trump (though I highly respect the office that he holds). I believe he has largely backward policies and rules by fear rather than by the will of the people. His words do not often match his actions, and he jeopardizes our American future as well as the lives of many Americans. He is a threat to our democracy.
However, at the same time, we need to overcome this obstacle and still achieve progress as a country. Unless “Russiagate” proves to be grounds for impeachment (which at this point I would say is unlikely, but there is obviously much more investigating to be done), Trump will be in office for at least the next four years. This reality will not change. Thus, we need to decide if resistance will best achieve the ends that we want. Will protest encourage social justice? Will marches change the minds of our Republican politicians?
Division is our biggest obstacle to progress. Division breaks us apart, weakens our country and our people, and limits our capabilities. Protest harbors this divide. Rather than continuing an attitude of disdain and hatred, we must work together—not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans or citizens of the world—to achieve progress.
Let me be clear: I direct this request to both my Democratic and Republican friends. Both sides are equally guilty of fostering divide. Both sides are at fault. Republicans have run a Democratic smear campaign for the last eight years, while Democrats have responded with only equal condemnation.
It’s time to put aside partisan party politics to work for the American people. It’s time to work across the aisle, compromise, and pursue an American agenda that benefits our country and our world.
As a college campus, we can set an example for our fellow Americans and reshape the American future. We don’t have to fall into the same tragic paradigm as our predecessors. We can promote understanding, foster leadership, and have an open mind for our fellow students.
Our student body prides itself as an inclusive community that supports all people and all views. Let’s actually live up to this mission. If your friend has an opposing viewpoint, don’t automatically assume they’re bigoted or ignorant; instead, discuss together how each of you have arrived at your opposing viewpoints and what experiences shape your ideologies. Let’s set the example for our country and our future and better ourselves and the world around us.