By: Logan Kentner
Monday was the kick-off of our academic sessions. The topic for the day was centered around political discourse. After her son told her she was only listening to things she wanted to hear our speaker, Julie Winokur, set out to travel America to get a better understanding of people and how they constructed their opinions
Although Julie claimed to work to eliminate bias, her documentary did seem to have a political slant. It often appeared to frame Conservatives as unintelligent and instead of working to understand where or how they arrived at their opinions, she seemed to interrogate them. However, it was a valiant effort to continue political discourse which is slowly disappearing.
The part of the day which was most disappointing to me was not the presentation or the students in the audience. The hardest part to understand was when two professors sitting behind me in the auditorium began scoffing and mocking everything any of the conservative interviewees said. It was and still is very difficult to understand why two professors and group leaders would make a joke out of conservatives in that manner. Once they started, other students started to chime in and eventually people throughout our entire section joined in. Under a normal political presentation this would’ve been somewhat acceptable. However, as the presentation was over civil and respectful political discourse, it seemed inappropriate. I have always enjoyed listening to other people’s opinions. Although I often disagree, I think there is a lot to learn from other opinions. Throughout my experience, most people my age are also interested in similar discussion.
The real take-away from this situation was that until everyone truly wants to engage in civil discussion regarding politics, it will not happen. It is something that will have to come from the top down. Students are not going to be likely to go out and have a great, educational conversation with someone the disagree with when they see their professor or leader for the week laughing and scoffing at opposing views from their own.