By: Logan Kentner
One of the main themes for our two weeks was discourse. As the country continues to experience extreme division, it is becoming increasing important to be willing to have a civil conversation. The group of Drake students who traveled to Washington D.C. for the inauguration came from many different walks of life and have many different political views.
Although my personal political views are not the same as most college students, I have had very few unpleasant experiences with fellow students at Drake. It is sometimes difficult to talk to people when there is so much passion and personal beliefs surround certain topics. However, throughout the week, I experienced many bipartisan discussions that fostered learning for everyone involved.
Through these discussions it becomes clear how it is easy for the media to split people into two sides and leave it at that. Similarly, sound bites and hot takes make it easy for political parties to villainize the other side. Many actions from individuals do not represent the party and do not define each person who identifies with that party.
In conversations amongst people who agree, it is easy to blame the other side and never stop to think if it is a fair claim. However, when surrounded by people who see the world from a different perspective, you are forced to think about issues at a much deeper level. For instance, when discussing the inauguration, a group member brought up that a person in the crowd was yelling the “n-word” when Michelle Obama was walking out onto the stage. This is a terrible representation of the Republican party and do not define me or many other people who identify within the party. It was easy for the group member to associate the crazy person with the entire party, but when it was just a small group, it was easy to work out and come to the realization how that did not represent the party. A few minutes longer into the discussion protests came up. Ignorantly, I immediately associated all the protests with the very few violent ones that had taken place that day. To me it was so easy to associate all of the protestors as violent and only there to cause issues for people they disagree with. I was quickly corrected which forced me to think and realize those few violent protesters did not represent all the protesters.
These two weeks I learned many different things from many professionals and experts, but I think I learned most from my classmates. Being able to associate with people you disagree with is becoming increasingly difficult and it is incredibly important to work past that.