by Marie Sweeney ’20
In the past decade, political debate has grown increasingly partisan and intense, making positive dialogue and progress almost impossible. In these times where consensus seems unattainable, it is important to remember that although you may disagree with someone’s beliefs, political disagreement should not be cause to judge someone’s character.
In today’s heated political climate, it is utterly impossible to read a news platform without a report on congressional or citizen political disagreement. This could be attributed to the recent controversial debates regarding gun control, border and immigration issues, abortion rights, healthcare, and more.
What these issues have in common is that they are mostly driven by emotional, moral, and sometimes religious beliefs and therefore can elicit intense emotions of fear, passion, and anger. Recently, these divisions in opinions have spiraled out of control and have become so extreme that politics-driven hatred and violence is common.
It is these strong beliefs that are dividing our country and causing hatred among citizens, solely due to their political opinions. Because of this, people do not take into consideration one’s character and personality before they judge them based on politics.
This can lead to insecurities and discomfort in social situations, even to the point where it can ruin friendships and even divide the closest of families.
Maddie Reilly ‘20 states, “I think that we all should respect our different viewpoints and beliefs and be open to listen to one’s thoughts and opinions of all subject areas without judgement.”
Especially in places like college campuses, people come from different backgrounds and have unique experiences that everyone should be open to. At this age, college students are developing their political beliefs and should not be intimidated or targeted by other people’s judgements of their opinions.
Karl Reidel ‘20 adds, “I want to be able to be open about my opinion around others without the feeling of being judged or looked at differently for my beliefs. It definitely happens to people and it is upsetting to see.”
While it is accepted to express and to be passionate about your political beliefs, politics should not be something that turns into a toxic and difficult conversation topic. It needs to be understood that the fact that people have different opinions is part of our human nature and we are lucky enough to live in a nation where we have every right to express them.
It is unfortunate that people look past the positive qualities of a person and automatically choose hatred or judgement before getting to know a person. This is something that needs to change before the division in our country becomes more extreme.
As this semester begins and we enter into the tumultuous 2020 election, it is important to be aware of the intense emotions that can stem from political agendas.
Be sure to remind yourself that someone’s political beliefs do not always reflect their personality or character, and one should not be judged solely based upon how they vote.