Extreme political statements are plastered across social and news media outlets 24/7, including sloppy Facebook arguments, aggressive Twitter fights, and newscasters bickering on live television. When extreme language is used in these forms, any discussion about differences in political or ideological beliefs leads to hate speech and stalemate.
Disagreement today has lost all sense of being a conversation and almost never ends with resolution or progress. It is simply the same argument repeated over and over so each person can yell their frustrations about the opposing side and further isolate themselves from them. Much of this is due to the language used. Buzzwords and phrases that are guaranteed to spark emotional backlash are incorporated to get views or foster allegiance to a specific political orientation. Buying into media that seeks to unhinge readers creates a cycle of sharp-edged emotional comments and small battles that people fight as if their life depends on it.
It is time that we recognize the cycle of uneducated dead ends this political ploy pulls us into. Emotion saturates all of our decisions these days, and people are more defensive and less open-minded than ever, no matter how progressive. Both sides are guilty and it is time to expect more than just emotional rants. Instead, we should demand intellectual conversation where compromise is imminent. An example of feeding into such useless conversation—useless in that it results in nothing but divide—can be seen close to home.
Pat Sorrells’s column in The Concordian revolves around voicing the Republican political views that are seemingly absent on our predominantly liberal campus, and because of his extreme word choice, misrepresentation of facts and lack of counterargument, he has gradually become the Concordia figurehead for many of the inflated Republican values that are despised in modern politics.
The validity of Sorrells’s push for more Republican representation on campus is a completely valid and under-stressed issue on campus. But, by approaching issues the way many modern politicians blast their extreme opinions, he has allowed for the comfortable progressives on campus to distance themselves even further from bipartisanship. Our campus needs not only Republican representation, especially since recent statistics state that 45 percent of our campus identifies as Republican, but it desperately needs grounded conversation on the issues. No progress can be made by being defensive or utilizing extreme language to spark counterargument. Again, both sides are guilty. Educators are guilty and students are guilty. In a time when Democrats are frustrated and flabbergasted by modern politics, it is understandable that aggressive comments are made in and out of the classroom. But by doing so, the conversation continues to mirror the political lockdown that is the root of many issues that are not being compromised on.
It is time to truly respect both ends of the political spectrum with our actions and our claims, and to hear out their arguments so true progress can be made among intellectuals. As idealistic as it seems, our campus should be treated as a test run for effective political relations rather than a space that squanders the voice of students that align with the minority and festers hate speech and unchecked opinions among liberals. Although not the most popular, Republicans and other differing ideologies are people and intellectuals all the same.
One cannot be truly educated until both sides are brought to light, and one cannot be for change if differing ideals are shut down from possible correction or compromise. It is time to use more than extreme emotional jargon meant to inflame the other side. It is time to research our claims and not isolate the minority by snowballing our progressive values into closed-minded conversation. We all want versions of the same thing: to be heard, respected, and have the space to practice our beliefs and be happy however we see fit. It is time to put aside our political and verbal defenses and work towards our common goal.