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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Respect in the Political Sphere (or Lack Thereof)

Respect+in+the+Political+Sphere+%28or+Lack+Thereof%29

The political climate in America and what Terriers can do to change the conversation

The United States’ political sphere today has become increasingly polarized by the creation of a huge divide between those who consider themselves Republicans and those who consider themselves Democrats. We have seen the result of this division first-hand in our news media coverage of riots, marches, political speeches from both sides and much more. Even some of the media coverage itself is extremely biased, sharing or emphasizing only parts of a story in order to skew it to favor their viewers’ values. I am not here to tell you which part of the political spectrum you should endorse. Instead, I’m writing to point out the egregious lack of respect both parties have displayed from the top down, leading to a society almost incapable of friendly, civil discussions about politics. 

 

In my own personal life, I try my best to listen to and respect the opinions of others in order to learn from their own perspectives why they believe what they do. I believe that this will help me to be more sympathetic towards others’ experiences and expand my understanding of societal issues. This, in turn, will allow my own beliefs to be amended and challenged so that I will be able to more fully explain and support them in other settings.  

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However, it is not always easy to remain calm and civil when discussing political issues that might lie close to your heart. I have had experiences with people older than me – who I barely knew – who attacked and demeaned my personal beliefs, my character and my loved ones based on a few of my political stances. These people did not bother to ask or attempt to understand why I believe what I do or what experiences I have had that shape my beliefs. They were not willing to have a civil discussion about anything other than their own beliefs and the reasons why their beliefs were not only superior to mine, but the correct beliefs to hold. This lack of respect shown towards me angered me at first, but I was able to maintain my composure and listen to these people, only speaking to insert factual evidence when they were not acknowledging it (such as religious textual evidence).  

 

These experiences brought to my attention the effects that political polarization has had on the general population of the United States. People are less willing to sit down to have a respectful discussion, instead they only wish to push their own agendas and/or beliefs on others because they want to be “correct.” As a result, this has created more of a divide—and an extremely hostile one at that. Even if it’s not being acknowledged, both parties significantly lack in their displays of civility and respectfulness towards one another.  

 

I propose that we, as part of the Wofford community, decide to put an end to the polarization of politics and instead, sit down and have meaningful and civil conversations about our personal political beliefs. We should stop placing ourselves within the binary of party politics and make our own informed decisions about individual situations, rather than unquestioningly agreeing with whichever party we would typically affiliate. At the most basic level, we should understand that everyone’s beliefs have value and stem from different experiences we might have never encountered or fathomed. We should respect other’s opinions because they are humans too, just like you and me. 

Photo Caption: The current political atmosphere in the United States is divisive, but as Wofford terriers we can work to change the way we approach these conversations.

 

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