In an America where politics has become incredibly divisive and civic discourse has dwindled, the importance of listening to a political view and/or ideology in which people do not agree on must be emphasized.
Growing up, every individual’s political views are biasedly shaped and influenced by our families, whether they be conservative or liberal. They may stay the same over the course of our lives or they may change when one attends an institution of higher education, for example.
Conservative commentators such as Ben Shapiro have criticized college campuses for being “too liberal” or pushing a “liberal agenda.” It can be argued that many universities across the nation are home to liberal-leaning students and as younger generations tend to be more liberal, this should not come as a surprise.
The issue at hand though, is that students with conservative viewpoints tend to not voice their own thoughts and opinions so as not to be ostracized by their liberal peers.
Liberal students tend to complain about how closed-minded conservatives can be; they revert to calling them names such ignorant, bigots and racists. While at times those labels may be correct, a lot of the time it is simply not.
Some people may not agree with the concept of transgenders and multiple gender identities. Does that make them a bigot? No. Some folks may not agree with raising the minimum wage. Does that make them heartless? No. Others may not have liked Obama, are they racist? No.
Let’s reiterate this again for the liberals out there, instead of reverting to name calling and ostracizing, hear those individuals’ reasons as to why they believe what they do. Have a respectable discussion and find a middle ground; perhaps even try to bring them to your side.
Every individual needs to see the other side of the picture. Solely because another peer may disagree with one’s own views, they should still be heard. Let them explain why they believe in a certain ideology.
Imagine having to sit in a classroom while a majority of the students unabashedly criticize a certain candidate or political view, and the whole time that person who is in the minority won’t speak up because the rest of the class will go after them. That is wrong.
So, if a liberal student who grew up with parents that voted for Obama and Clinton during the last two presidential elections, they should be inclined to listen to those who voted for Mitt Romney or Donald Trump and vice-versa.
Many members of the Illinois State community noticed the number of democratic or liberal candidates who visited our campus, gave speeches on the Quad or held Q&A’s with students. Those were great opportunities for students to become politically informed about hot-button issues and become civically engaged, but there was something missing: conservative candidates.
Although those candidates had been invited by liberal student organizations on campus, an argument can be made that conservative student groups may have chosen not to invite right-wing candidates for fear or protests or reprisal.
Partial blame can be cast on conservative student groups in our community for failing to invite conservative candidates to campus, but students of all backgrounds should have the opportunity to hear from both sides of the political aisle, not just one.
Only together can society stop this divisive political rhetoric and bring back respectable civic discourse.