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Editorial

Politics can be discussed respectfully, don’t need to be controversial

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February 4, 2016

Politics seems to be the focus of everybody’s lives right now. For about a year now presidential candidates have been fighting for our attention and our future votes, and this has led to everything we see, hear and talk about being tied in with politics in some way. And with the Iowa caucus occurring earlier this week, this has never been more true. Now that we are finally in the year when we will elect our new president, it seems as though every conversation turns to the topic of politics; what new outlandish and un-presidential thing Trump tweeted or whether or not we believe the United States is ready for Bernie Sanders. No matter how the conversation starts however, there is a good chance that it will end in some form of conflict.

But what we have to ask ourselves is why does it have to end in conflict? Why is politics such a sensitive subject for us where we put people in judgmental boxes when learning where on the political spectrum they fall and take it personally when others don’t agree with our own ideologies and priorities? Why do we feel the urge to keep our mouths shut in fear of a debate when a family member says that they are voting for Ben Carson? Why is politics so personal?

College is a place where adults with different views, priorities, and experiences are able to come together and learn from each other, yet with politics we don’t seem to want to learn from each other, we just want to be right. There is nothing wrong with lively debate when it’s civil, just like there is nothing wrong with respecting someone’s views while not agreeing with them. Politics will continue to be present in our lives as we leave UW-River Falls and go out into the world, but we shouldn’t use politics as an excuse to get angry or assume someone isn’t as intelligent as us just because they have different views. The topic of politics shouldn’t be a controversial thing that is difficult to talk about, it should invite lively debate and open minds. Because at the end of the day, no matter who we’re planning on voting for, we’re all searching, in our own ways, to “make America great again.”

Comments

Professor Person on 11 Feb 2016: Maybe a better way to say this would be, "Controversial issues can be discussed with respect and civility." To say they "don't have to be controversial," means we all pretend we agree with each other, which is a very good way to avoid discussing anything in a productive way in the first place.