It’s Time to Bring Back Civil Discourse

Christopher Collado

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s Electoral College win in and Hillary Clinton’s popular vote victory, America has displayed increasing polarity in political beliefs. Instead of trying to find solutions to issues affecting the United States and the world, liberals and conservatives spend more time arguing and insulting each other than collaborating.

It can be frustrating to discuss politics with people who had different viewpoints, but we should never shut ourselves away from opportunities to engage. People with different perspectives can broaden their views on politics, policy and the world if they are only willing to converse.  In talking about politics, it is important to listen, reflect and then speak, instead of insulting each other and refusing to listen to the other side. Trevor Noah, host of the Daily Show, was able to have a civil conversation about the controversial topic of race relations with the conservative political commentator Tomi Lahren. Civil discourse can help  foster respect between the Democratic and Republican parties, even if the only thing they can agree on is to disagree.

In protests against Gavin McInnes on the Washington Square campus on Feb. 2, 11 people were arrested. The speaker himself was even pepper sprayed. Protesting is a powerful way to convey a message. However, when words turn into violence their message is lost; outside observers only focus on the violence, not the argument. Regardless of how people feel about Trump, the issues this country faces will not be resolved until people listen to each other without violence.

What makes the United States great is that it is a diverse nation filled with people from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences. We must continue to embrace these differences to strengthen our community, instead of creating more division. Regardless of how we feel about what others are saying, everyone in the United States has the right to free speech. Protesting and opposing hate speech are important, but violence distracts people from the message of protest. We must use civil discourse to unite America. If we do not, Americans of all political affiliations will suffer.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb 6. print edition. Email Christopher Collado at [email protected]

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