Debates, Discourse, and Diversification

This will be a short and not particularly well-written piece since I’m currently studying and just taking a break to address something I saw yesterday.

As most of you know, CNN held the Democratic Primary Debates last night, and my social media was aglow with messages of support, hilarious memes, and dissenting opinions. With the lack of circus and general hostility seen in the Republican Debates last month, there was a lot more meaningful discussion on my social media homepages last night, and I was seriously proud of how engaged my internet friends were in the election process.

That is, until I saw my university’s College Republicans post a photo of them at a local movie theater with the caption “Democratic Debates or College Republican movie night?”

Upon seeing the photo, my mind was instantly brought back to elementary school, when kids would stick their fingers in their ears yelling “la la la la la” to tune out other kids who were bothering them.

Looking at this photo, I saw a group of students purposefully missing an event because it surrounded things they didn’t agree with. Rather than watch the debates, like most intelligent, politically minded people do to gain an understanding of what the other side has to say, they looked away and pretended the debates weren’t even on.

The self reported vision of the Young Republicans club at my school is to foster “a successful Florida Federation of College Republicans as a mature, stable, effective, and respected organization.”

Mature. 

Obviously, there was absolutely nothing mature about what the CR club did last night. As an organization who wishes to help students become active and engaged citizens, it was almost their duty to encourage their membership to watch the debates, and perhaps even facilitate a discussion on their views and how they differed from those of the Democratic candidates. Informed citizenship entails looking at the issues from all points of view, not just the one you think you identify with, and sadly, the College Republicans fell short of this mark.

Part of the purpose of going to college is to expose yourself to new experiences and ideas that are not your own. The 60,000 students you interact with for those 4 years (or more, for those of you on your victory lap) teach you more than your professors could ever hope to. Being a young adult means finding out who you are, and that means being open to other worldviews and opinions that you may have not even considered.

I advise everyone to seize the opportunity afforded by being surrounded by so many different people to challenge yourself to broaden your horizons. Take this time to examine important sociopolitical issues from different points of view, and try to understand why you and others have specific opinions.

In the election spirit, I also invite all of my readers to take the iSideWith test to really gain an understanding of what your opinions are and to use the results as a tool to start having discussions with your family and friends!

xoxo,
La Nouvelle Romantique

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