By Brooke Miller
In less than one week, 25 Drake students and two Drake professors will witness one of the most astounding traditions in American history, the peaceful transition of power from one president to another. On that day, Democrats and Republicans stand together as Americans. After, what some may debate as the most polarizing election in history, we will take our first steps into our country’s uncertain future together. And it is together we stand strong even when while we are divided.
Our class topic has been political discourse through a variety of topics. We have been lucky to have a diverse group of students who fall on all spots of the spectrum to make our disccusions difficult at times, but always worth it.
One night, during our small group discussions, senior Zach Dvorak and sophomore Isabelle Barrett disagreed. We had all been talking about the speaker from that morning, Michael Eric Dyson, and Zach brought up a comment the speaker had made about Senator Bernie Sanders being unconsciously racist in his campaign policies. Zach had explained how he was happy the speaker brought up a point that he had been thinking about for awhile. Now, hands shot up around the room. Isabelle had been an avid Sanders supporter, and when she was called on, she described how she struggled so much with that comment because even though it went against everything she believed in the Sanders’ campaign, it made sense to her.
In that moment, political discourse was sparked. Now, a heated argument did not occur. Twenty-five Drake students did not witness their classmates of opposing ideologies point fingers and call names. In fact, the topic was respectfully dropped from the group discussion.
After the group was dismissed, Zach and Isabelle continued their conversation. They reached across the invisible political spectrum to give each other a glimpse at their side. Now whether or not they reached a compromise on the topic, only they know. But they displayed the most important part of our civic duty that night.
“You need disagreement and you need different viewpoints because it is going to do one of two things. It will either grow your own beliefs and make them stronger or you understand their perspective and change your view to create compromise,” said Dvorak.
“Political discourse just makes sense because you don’t know who you are going to have to interact with on a daily basis,” said Barrett. ” It is important in that sense so you can learn to work with people and have a better understanding of the people around you.”
So while each party becomes more polarized and divided, and we may continue to wonder why Congress can’t get anything done. Remember, we are given opportunities to reach across the aisle everyday. We have the ability to hear the other out and create compromise in our own lives. It may sound like something small, but political discourse begins and ends with us.