I have noticed many of my close friends are increasingly discouraged from engaging in any political conversation on campus because of criticism they get from stating their opinions.
There is no doubt our campus is filled with opinionated voices. Even beyond the boundaries of the newspaper, students love sharing their views and in the process both intentionally and unintentionally hating on other’s views.
I am proud to go to a school with these types of students. I feel lucky to be able to confidently discuss issues and hear different perspectives. However, these conversations often are conducted in a counter-productive manner. I have witnessed the escalation of these conversations to the point where people leave feeling attacked and insulted. The problem is how we approach them.
The majority of us have already developed opinions about the presidential candidates from our parents or news sources that usually lack objectivity. Most of us, myself included walk blindly down one direction, failing to see what is on the other side.
Many of us will directly make a difference by casting our votes next election. In assuming this responsibility, we need to remember to be individual thinkers, not followers. A good leader would not underestimate or ridicule opposing ideas, but rather listen, consider, and understand. I encourage constructive conversations, and respecting the sacred right to opinion. I am not saying we all must agree with one another, as I understand that the students that roam the halls are passionate. However, I challenge us to converse not lecture.
Understand the danger of lecturing and a blind doctrine, which can become as extreme as ISIS. Quite frankly, it is infuriating to be told you are wrong, especially pertaining to our core values and personal beliefs. Expressing points of view should catalyze conversation and encourage new ideas and perspectives, not discourage and disprove the antithesis of what you believe in. To tell someone he or she is wrong for having a belief is simply demeaning towards basic human nature.
I hope that upcoming conversations avoid narrow-mindedness and are filled with empathy and kindness towards each other, with the conscious refrain of using terms that leave feelings hurt, because no one wants to be told their opinion is wrong.Encourage intellectual growth by listening respectfully and speaking consciously.