Opinion

The most important side of politics: the personal

In politics, an elephant represents the Republican party and a donkey represents the Democratic party.

Following the Iowa caucus Feb. 1, tensions within both parties have already begun to peak. While we wait for the voting to resume once again in New Hampshire on Tuesday, debates between everyday Americans as to which candidate is the proper one for their respective parties have already turned heated.

Most everyone (notice I said most) has some political view, and has been involved in at least one conversation about politics over the last few days or weeks. Whether this conversation was civilized, a screaming match, one of agreement or one involving different political ideologies, such a conversation was inevitable. And here is where I would like to make my point. It does not matter if you are a Democrat, a Republican, an independent or do not associate with any political party at all. When you are discussing government, it is extremely important that you do not forget the personal side of politics.

What is the personal side of politics? It is the concept that you support whatever type of politics is best suited for you. Everyone has their own personal reason for supporting a certain candidate, party or ideology, or not supporting anyone at all. This is the beauty of the United States. You have the right to believe in whatever it is you choose to. However, all too often when people are discussing politics, they fail to recognize that political views that do not match their own are not incorrect. Showing support for the Democratic party does not make you any more or less correct in in terms of politics than someone who is supporting the Republican party. You may not agree with them, but that is most likely for personal reasons.

The purpose of this piece is not to tell you to vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or for any of the other prominent or unknown political candidates. Its purpose is to try and return some humanity to the discussion of politics. Just in the past few days, I have had several interesting personal experiences. For example, I have heard someone refer to Sen. Sanders as Adolf Hitler for his political ideology. I have heard people say that Sen. Cruz is nothing more than a violence-advocating fool for his ideas about gun control. To me, such outlandish statements, regardless of whether I agree with them or not, are the exact reason that discussing politics in this country has become nearly impossible. In your mind, these statements may be correct or incorrect, but only on the grounds of personal views. There is no true firm ground to confirm or deny of them.

The personal side of politics is what creates the divide throughout the United States. It is what prevents Congress and President Barack Obama (as well as any president before him, or to come after) from accomplishing any true progress in our great nation. All too often, government officials accept or reject legislation based on whether the person who proposed it was red or blue, not whether it would actually be beneficial for the people of our nation. At some point we will need to put these differences aside in order to begin to actually move forward, and solve what seems like a never-ending list of problems here in the United States and abroad.

I will leave you with this: Next time you are in a debate over government with your neighbor, classmate, best friend or even your archrival, take a second before accusing them of being wrong and consider the personal side of politics. They may come from a very different economic, social or educational background, and this could be the root of the disagreement. Rarely is there one single factor that shapes someone’s political beliefs. It is usually a combination of any of the above elements, or may not involve any such factors at all. Politics is perhaps one of the touchiest subjects to discuss among any group of people in United States. However, not forgetting the personal side of politics, and being able to recognize the other side of the spectrum as a legitimate ideology, is the most important thing in such a discussion.

Jack is a freshman majoring in journalism. Do you agree with the idea that people need to be more rational when discussing politics? Send all comments to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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