It’s been a long and tiresome election cycle, and for many of us the outcome has been less than stellar. There is legitimate fear and concern for the future of this country on both sides of the aisle. Because of this fear and concern we the people have turned against one another.
Liberals and conservatives have never been more divided. Each side blames the other while thinking themselves infallible. How did we get to this point? Where did we go so far astray that people are now scared to express their political views? What happened to us, the citizens of this great nation?
Firstly, we must recognize that the blame lies with all of us. It was not just one party or the politicians or the media or any other single group. It is every individual in this nation. We all want to point the finger because it’s an easy way out; it’s easier to blame others than to be critical of ourselves. This is due, in part, to human nature but also due to the separation we have created between us. I attribute this social and political crisis to a lack of discussion. We, as a community, no longer seek for our ideas to be challenged. Instead we seek people that will agree with us, make us feel self-righteous and powerful. How many of you liberals would attend a College Republicans meeting? How many of you conservatives would listen to College Democrats? Even worse, how many of you would avoid both altogether?
We think ourselves under attack when someone questions our views. We feel threatened by those who see the world differently. In a community as accepting as UNH we forget where our strength lies: in our diversity of opinion and ideas. We cannot look at ideas contrary to ours as dangerous, we must embrace them as we would any other source of diversity. By challenging your own beliefs, you strengthen your mind, your beliefs and your character. We have grown weak from echo chambers of our own spoiled ideas.
We have lost something that our society had not so long ago: the discussion. Such a simple idea. I’m sure we can all agree that we learn much from in class discussions, yet we shy away when it comes to discussions of what we already think we know. We as a community must not ignore each other as we have been doing, both as a nation and a college community. Yet there is still a worse trap to this great nation. It’s the snare of disenfranchisement. We do the worst possible action against our selves. We treat politics as a taboo. We feign ignorance to avoid the dark truths that lie in the corner of our minds.
Don’t fall for this toxic notion for that will be the end of our democracy. Those who do this are the worst kind of citizens. Certainly, it is a question if they should even be considered such. It is time for us to take a stand. While we ignore the truth or claw at each other’s parties there are those who seek to take our freedoms, our rights and our beliefs. Now is the time to make peace with our political enemies and fight those who seek to divide with parties and religions. Divided, we, the people of these United States, are weak, but together we will be unstoppable.
So I implore every one of you to start the respectful, civil and peaceful discussions that will save this country. Listen to people you disagree with. Read news that is foreign to you. Question your beliefs. Listen to the protesters on the other side of the road. Question authority. Think critically of yourself and the world around you.
We cannot advocate just one party or one ideology, we need every one of them for this democratic republic to function. We must create political discourse, mutual respect and balance. Only through this can we as a country, as a university and as individuals, have any hope for our future.