This is going to be an interesting post to make without getting political, but I’m going to try! I’m a fairly firm believer that most politics does not have much of a place on the internet outside of well-researched news articles. The digital screaming matches and name calling that I see so often, on both sides of the political aisle, are disheartening and largely unproductive.
In a perfect world, I think that we could have respectful political discourse online. But we are not living in a perfect world. It is so difficult to convey tone through text, and many people arguing their points and leaving empathy at the door spend most of their energy tearing into their “opponents,” willfully ignoring the fact that everyone, regardless of political orientation, is trying to improve our country and our world.
With the election coming up so soon and the truly bizarre and terrifying road that has brought us this far, it is easy to see why the country is in its current state of political frenzy. What’s more, most of the frenzy seems to be dedicated to the character of each of the two candidates, rather than to their actual policies. To combat this, I decided to go to a talk on the foreign policies of Clinton and Trump that was held on campus recently.
The talk featured five speakers, each of which focused on one aspect of Trump and Clinton’s policies. They each elucidated the positions of each candidate with as little bias as possible before including some of their own thoughts on the subjects. Their topics were all related to foreign policy – handling foreign policy is a duty that takes up roughly half of the president’s time, and as such, it is EXTREMELY important.
Foreign policy is a topic very close to my own heart – good international relations are one of my big goals for the U.S.. and because of this, I loved getting the chance to sit down and learn about each candidate’s views.
The topics discussed were oil and the environment, trade, China, relations with the Middle East and Russia, and Latin America. Each topic was presented by an expert in that topic, and I was glad to hear their thoughts. I like to think that I stay fairly well-informed about politics, and because of this, I knew the basics of each candidate’s position on foreign policy going into the talk, but I learned more information in greater depth in the course of this presentation, and it was great to hear. I also considered several topics from new angles that I hadn’t before, which was refreshing – I like to know exactly why I have the views that I do, and to frequently challenge my political opinions to make sure that they hold up to scrutiny. I never want to become complacent and start to think that I know it all – that seems like a dangerous game to play.
That said, there are certain views that I will always hold that I will leave you with now. I will always respect and admire the citizens of this country from all walks of life. To me, the diversity in the United States is our greatest asset, and it is cause for celebration, not fear. We have SO much to learn from each other, and to let fear-mongering get in the way of that learning and cooperation between diverse groups would be a tragedy. Especially now, in this tense political climate, respect and empathy are of the utmost importance. We must not allow ourselves to be driven apart by the divisive voices of an angry minority who seek to turn us against each other. We are greater than the sum of our parts, and I hope that we never forget it.