Healthy discourse and opposing opinions

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Healthy discourse and opposing opinions

Photo by: Sumin Kim

Photo by: Sumin Kim

Photo by: Sumin Kim

Jake Brien, Commentary Editor

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I’m just worn down. I’m tired. I’m fed up with people acknowledging the political divisions in this country while simultaneously shouting into a megaphone about how everyone else is stupid for not having the same beliefs. I hope that someone reading this has the sense to turn off a pre-memorized vocabulary of inflammatory rhetoric for a few moments and to just take a moment to breathe.

Some students may not realize it, but Bowie is preparing us both academically and socially for the real-word. In most cases, teachers may not grade us for how we share our opinions to other students during class, but students themselves learn from the mistakes and successes when it comes to the most vocal of their peers. Oftentimes, it feels like we fail to acknowledge the fact that any opinion sharing, whether positive or negative, helps us grow as people.

Now, I hate getting into the habit of checking my phone every 30 seconds, but what I hate more is hypocrisy. It’s very rare for me to see two students having different political views and for each person to listen politely. Everyone is entitled to free speech, but that doesn’t give us the right to expect someone to hear us out and then interrupt when the other person shares his/her own differing opinion.

We pride ourselves at Bowie for having a diverse student body. Why not a diverse set of options? I’m a political centrist, so I hold many of my views in the middle of the spectrum. For many centrists, it feels as though we don’t often have a say in politics because we’ll be labeled as pro-democrat or pro-republican when we defend the other side in an argument.

In today’s hectic climate of politics, I believe that many of us could benefit from being more open-minded and could learn a thing or two from one another before we jump to harsh rhetoric and judgement. It’s our job as the next generation of voters to do better than our current policy makers. I just hope that any future government shutdowns don’t last quite as long — I believe we can do better than the current politicians in this regard.

Political parties are a foundation of our modern policy making. Because of the lack of direct-democracy within this country, Americans use representatives that reflect their beliefs. Given that millions of people identify with their own unique political parties, it’s illogical to assume that these complex coalitions of voters are all idiots, racists, socialists, environmentalists, homophobes, fourth wave feminists, or otherwise. Some Democrats identify with Antifa and some Republicans identify with nationalism. However, this does not mean that all Democrats and Republicans are extremists.

The last thing I would want to do is give the impression that my bias is something that’s not affecting my outlook on the party system. Truthfully, I don’t like the party system, but I understand its significance in our government. I would associate myself as a political centrist with mixed opinions. To me, centrism isn’t merely being fifty-fifty on every issue facing Americans, it’s a philosophy about keeping and open mind to both sides of each argument.

Politics is something anyone can jump into. There are many free news apps out there, along with the daily NPR news podcasts. It wouldn’t hurt to download political apps from both the right and the left to recognize that people with differing opinions are just people with opinions. Many students may not enjoy discussing politics, and that’s fine, but I would ask those people to recognize what is healthy opinion sharing and what is unhealthy.

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