A yearly tradition since the early 20th century, the State of the Union address has sought to provide a snapshot of our country at the time. No matter your political dispositions, President Donald Trump’s address to the two houses of Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 5, was certainly remarkable. Much of the discussion in the lead-up to the address was whether the president would be taking a bipartisan approach to the oft-unifying speech or instead focus on unifying his base of right-wing voters.
Trinity students are oftentimes given a similar choice on the political spectrum. Rarely is the middle brought up — usually we are given a choice between Trinity Progressives (T-Prog), Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT), Tigers for Life and a litany of other organizations, both on- and off-campus
You attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Sure, it may be a phrase that your mother always repeated to you when you started complaining about some perceived injustice in the world around you to anyone that would listen, but it’s still true. So take a breath and listen to those with whom you disagree. Respectfully disagree, utilizing evidence and logic to prove your point — not ever-increasing volume.
YCT, T-Prog and other groups do an admirable job promoting discussion over conflict, but they can’t force our community to really listen to each other. So the next time you’re engaged in a political discussion, remember to keep an open mind. Your reaction to someone bringing up an opposing viewpoint shouldn’t be to duck the topic and say, “We talk about this later.” By the same token, if someone brings up an issue that you agree with (at least on face value), you shouldn’t parrot it back without thinking of the consequences and ramifications of your beliefs.
Another thing that people must recognize, especially those who are organizing panels and discussion events around hot-button issues, is that humans are more likely to engage if they already agree with the perspective being put forth. An event put on by T-Prog, YCT or Trinity Diversity Connection (to name a few) with a panel discussion will likely only attract those who already agree with the views presented.
Nothing changes in this world without the mutual respect and acknowledgement of others. We must be willing to branch out and try to see the other side. Political discussions ought not turn into screaming matches involving personal insults and abusive language. They should truly be catalysts for change.
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