Agree to disagree

Political differences should be embraced

Grace Krumplitsch, Web Editor

Whether it be a lively discussion about foreign policy in my International Baccalaureate Global Politics class, a debate on climate change solutions in IB Environmental Systems and Societies, or a heated debate in the halls over the most recent White House scandal, members of the Convent community do not stray from expressing opinions. 

But, as a proud conservative living in San Francisco — arguably one of the most liberal cities in the nation — I often feel the need to keep quiet during political discussions for the sake of keeping friendships with classmates who would inaccurately label me otherwise. 

Americans need to better recognize that First Amendment rights apply to everyone, not just the voices of those with whom they agree. 

While many teachers and faculty members in schools across the country are often discouraged from engaging in political discussion, education and politics are inseparable, as students should be taught to engage in healthy and respectful debates.  

Over 53% of people say that discussing politics with others they disagree with is stressful and should be avoided, according to the Pew Research Center. The study also found that Democrats and those who lean further left are more likely to get stressed in conversations than Republicans and those who lean further right.

The combative attitude among many of our political leaders translates to poor foundations of trust and respect at school, work or home in regards to intense discussions about current events.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans who avoid publicly sharing views on President Trump say they refrain from such conversations to avoid discomfort and conflict, according to the Pew Research Center. While avoiding conflict may be a reasonable objective, many important and productive conversations stem from a healthy amount of discomfort. 

Wreckless ad hominem attacks from either side are no solution— neither are sarcasm nor blocked listening nor the unwillingness to engage.

Rather than remaining one-sided and close-minded, we should feel empowered to set aside obligations to political parties and converse with those who hold opposing views in order to form a well-rounded opinion. 

In early October, talk show host Ellen Degeneres received backlash in the media for attending a Dallas Cowboys football game with former President George W. Bush, a friend of hers who holds strongly divergent political views. Degeneres addressed her audience at the end of a segment by reminding them, “Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them.” 

Civil discourse itself is not a negative thing, but an aspect of modern-day politics that should be embraced, not scorned.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
(Visited 150 times, 1 visits today)