As leaves fall from the trees and sunshine sparkles across campus, the appreciation for the environment and collective push for sustainability is as fitting as ever. But, as we settle into the challenge of progressing on these topics, the politics cannot be avoided.
Dr. Eban Goodstein, an expert in the field of sustainability, gave a talk at Concordia on tribalism and climate change last week. Goodstein noted that sustainability and climate change are labeled as liberal concerns. Many groups within the Cobber community find the liberal political sphere interchangeable with the liberal arts approach on campus. To a certain degree, they are synonymous, but they aren’t codependent by any means. This leads to the false impression that committing to Concordia means immersing yourself in the liberal agenda. It is important not to assume such expectations and respect those that are of a different political standing than yours.
Yes, like with any college, let alone a liberal arts one, a majority of the events are going to align with with views of the left. This association becomes exacerbated by the majority of professors and their corresponding values, but the concept of the student body being indisputably liberal is false. This past year, students partook in a survey, and results found that 40 percent of Concordia students identify with the Republican party. This staggering statistic reflects that the campus students who view the Concordia bubble as one that only caters to liberals, is in fact just a student body with a slight liberal tilt.
Part of the reason this statistic can be shocking is the absence of an advocating Republican voice throughout campus. Because of this, there is a lack of discussion that only furthers the cycle of oversight for many Democrats feeling that “liberal arts” means a liberal student body. Arguably, this lack of Republican representation is a byproduct of the overcrowding liberal voice on campus. By capitalizing on the safe space for democratic values and the rarity of such a space in our modern world, many students end up overstepping and slandering the other side. This has lead to the extinction of the safe place for Republicans and their voice within all campus circles.
With our modern world in the twilight zone, the political misunderstanding of our own Cobbers should concern our community as we try to try to give voice to all students and learn from the mistakes of our world past the corn. Creating a safe place for political dialogue and eradicating the tendency to shame those who attempt to speak out on their beliefs even if they differ, is a place to start within our Concordia bubble.
The ultimate reflection lies in the hypocrisy of our liberal actions, mine included. Many of the belittling liberal comments revolve around the Republican hatred towards those who are different or don’t reflect the same values as you. This issue many liberals have with Republican reterotic can be mirrored in many Democratic students’ talk of Republicans. In no means am I writing off the slander as justified or canceled out from the Republican base, but begging people to ask a question.
By shaming and putting down your Republican counterparts, are you not executing the same fallacy you are vocalizing against the Republicans using?
I know there are obvious holes in this question and in the assumption that all liberals on campus are vocal and aggressive towards the other side. The assumption that moderates don’t play a role is a separate article. The issue remains that we as a campus need to separate the conceptual union of liberal arts and liberal political standing. In doing so, we do not stoop to the mistakes of many post-college US citizens and we allow the ability for conversation to bloom in the political field of present-day landmines.