December 11, 2019

Campuses need political variety

Lack of communication and understanding has caused people to be entrenched by their own beliefs. Today, this attitude has created such a negative aura against conservative opinions their words are deemed almost blasphemous.

The word has been coming up a lot recently in my mind to process things like “cancel culture” and the “whole hate speech is not free speech” spectacle. To us, these things are champions to the progressive and liberal direction of society.  

Free speech is free as long as you aren’t saying anything that would be too taboo. Some even considering free speech to be a surrogate for bigotry. 

The “cancelling” of something on social media you saw in a hashtag is seen almost as a public service with or without any basis to the sensationalism surrounding the cancellation. For example, I often think about the story of the smiling “make America great again” kid staring down Nathan Phillips at the march for life in Washington D.C. Media outlets ran with the story of a politically charged image without having the full picture.

In any case, both cancel culture and the battle against free speech curtails the discussion of real topics to “protect” vulnerable people from speech deemed hateful. In effect creating a secular form of blasphemy that requires the immediate disinvestment to a topic, person or view.  

It’s good to have opinions. It is better when those opinions are challenged in order to build character and solidify what you know or change your understanding. Regardless, our generation is generally liberal without really thinking about why we are the way we are.

Often it seems in this age of social media, one surrounds themselves in a thick layer of ideological bubble wrap. In media this is called the Echo Chamber Effect. The Echo Chamber Effect creates an environment online or elsewhere where one encounters only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own. Thus existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered. 

I suppose people, like myself, are confused and uncomfortable. News of a conservative group on campus does not rest well on the minds of 2019, especially with the rise of populism and white supremacy in the age of Trump. 

This logic undermines what being liberal should be. We should try to find similarities across all values and work upwards, rather than succumbing to tunnel vision. Just because someone identifies as conservative does not make them a bigot, racist, or Trump supporter. 

If Webster wants to consider itself a liberal campus then we should start with some of our own students who often feel marginalized for political opinion. 

Hopefully, with a new conservative group, we can avoid demonizing one anothers political differences and seek to learn from one another instead. And hopefully, our college can be a place that opens minds rather than closes doors on people who should be heard.

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