As a Democrat who is very much against Donald Trump – I find both him and his proposals to be quite disturbing – and as a supporter of various liberal views, many of my opinions are validated at Andover. It is easy for me to say what I believe, as I know I will hear a chorus of support as soon as I voice them.
But for many other students, it is not nearly as simple. Some students who hold more Republican or conservative ideals are afraid to speak out at Andover, understandably fearing judgment and the flood of counterarguments that would undoubtedly be hurled their way. The dearth of outspoken right-wing views on campus makes it easy for Republican opinions to be ignored or brushed aside. Yet it is crucial that all students be able to voice their opinions freely, especially on a topic as important and varied as politics. Although I personally disagree with many Republican viewpoints, I still believe it is essential that perspectives from across the political spectrum be represented and respected.
Allowing more conservative voices to be heard on campus would not only benefit students who hold those ideals but also the community as a whole. By flooding the campus with only one kind of belief, we lose the value of opposing ideas and viewpoints that are necessary for healthy discourse. The point of a two-party system in the nation as a whole is to ensure that there isn’t one dominating opinion and multiple points of view are equally heard. But at Andover, the beliefs we hear and see in terms of politics are often skewed far to the left.
So the next time an unpopular opinion surfaces in discussions, do not immediately try to shove it aside. Seriously consider and think about the idea. Ask good, kind, and sincere questions. Be warm and accepting towards those with opposite views. In fact, seek out those varying views. Go to club meetings where different opinions may be presented. There is nothing wrong with seeing the other side for a little while. I suspect that many of us may be surprised when we stop speaking and simply listen.
I believe that no side is inherently good or inherently bad – they are simply different approaches to solve the same problem. The biggest issue is not about which side is better but rather how to make the world we live in better. Only by listening to both sides and forming plans and opinions based on the entire picture can we become a better, more complete community.