It is important for college students to understand that political differences are not evil

Students should understand that differing political opinions are equally valid

It is no secret that many college students have tunnel vision when it comes to politics. 

Nowadays, if somebody holds a political opinion that is considered different, they may be subject to shame and ridicule. 

This is often due to the fact that the two major political parties are easily misunderstood and slapped with inaccurate stereotypes. Democrats are often labeled as snowflakesor “cowards” while Republicans are often referred to as “Nazis” or “anti-Progressive”.

It is important to note that none of these sentiments are true. Using demeaning language to describe those with unique opinions is harmful to college students looking to expand and challenge their perspectives. 

Republicans and Democrats should be allowed to hold different viewpoints and still be able respect one another. It is possible for two groups of people to live cohesively and use their differences as a way to find the best solution to a problem. 

It is easy to forget how to find humanity within one another when tackling political problems. After all, some politicians have shown that different opinions have no bearing on their treatment to others.

For example, after running against one another in the 2008 Presidential election, former President Barack Obama (D) and Sen. John McCain (R) publicly displayed respect for one another.

Before aligning with a party, it is important to understand what values each of them hold. Having a solid understanding of each party is beneficial to students especially, as the university is exceptionally diverse. It creates potential for a more inclusive and intelligent discussion about real issues.

“I wish that people knew that the Democratic Party has great economic ideas. People undersell the economic side and think only Republicans are good at money management because they talk about it more on the campaign trail — but I think [Democratic] messages of a strong social safety net and a higher minimum wage are also important,”  Zak Ghali, ASU Young Democrats' president and political science master student, said.

Individuals from each party often feel misunderstood, or classified by one specific stance. 

“A lot of times, people don’t understand that the Republican Party does care about women ... especially about sexual assault cases on campus,"  Jennifer Custis, ASU College Republicans' president, and political science senior said. "We do have hearts, and we do care about minorities and women, just as much and if not more than any other party.”

Fostering respect for each other's opinions, despite differences, prepares students to be quality leaders.

“For me, (what I respect about the opposing party is) their dedication, specifically to get young people to vote. The ASU Young Democrats are very good at reaching out to young voters,” Custis said.

Commitment to a cause and the ability to explain certain views are important aspects of any successful political endeavor.

“They (ASU College Republicans) are always willing to have hard conversations about policy, and they aren’t closed-minded in their views,” Ghali said.

Before making decisions on which political party or candidate to support, student voters should make an effort to determine which values are important to them — regardless of party alignment. 

“If people want to get a good idea of what parties represent and what values matter to them, they shouldn’t just go on the DNC’s website and read the party platform,” Ghali said. “They should get involved in local politics to see if they share connections and opinions with those people ...That’s how you get the full picture.”

If the presidents of two very different and equally passionate clubs can speak respectfully of one another, the average college student should be able to as well. 

To address this, we must reiterate the underlying resolution of the issue: political differences are not evil. A difference of opinion should not define us — instead we should be evaluated on how we treat others.


Reach the columnist at amsnyde6@asu.edu or follow @AnnieSnyder718 on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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