It’s been a tough summer. Not just for any one community or country, but for millions of people around the world. Tragedy appears pervasive in our global society today — acts of terror, human suffering, systemic suppression of minority groups. It’s enough to stir up emotions in anyone.
Americans have had a tumultuous first half of 2016. Not only have we witnessed violence on our own soil with the unfortunate and tragic deaths of innocent civilians and our brave, dedicated law enforcement officers, but we’ve also been exposed to the rollercoaster of a divisive presidential election. It is one that has sparked serious social rifts as of late.
Taking a stand is an admirable act, a foundational aspect of the liberty afforded our country’s citizens by way of our governing documents. As a denizen of these United States you should be proud of your views and opinions, and should never feel pressured to compromise your beliefs.
That being said, regardless of your allegiances, your stance on recent violence or your candidate for President, a certain respect for your peers is warranted in the scope of healthy political discourse. I may disagree with your opinion on a given subject but you better believe I’ll respect your right to express it.
It’s disheartening to see our citizenry so divided and lacking regard for opposing viewpoints. It’s unfortunate because such universal hostility isn’t conducive to a strong and flourishing nation.
The months ahead are sure to be contentious, rife with fundamental disagreements along ideological lines. The temptation to raise one’s voice and engage in combative and testy discourse will be widespread, but we can and we should foster an environment of respectful and constructive rhetoric. Auburn can be a paradigm of political and ideological deliberation if we simply employ an inkling of respect and understanding in approaching these conversations.
So this fall, don’t burn bridges or alienate your friends and peers because of your differences — engage in productive and considerate conversations about our pressing issues. For it is from those conversations that tomorrow’s solutions spring and that effective political debate and democracy shines brightest.
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This letter was submitted by Trey Fields, SGA executive vice president of initiatives and a senior in political science. The opinions expressed in this letter are solely those of the author, not of this paper. Send your own letter to the editor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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