A few weeks ago, an article was released in my college's student newspaper entitled, "Under The Radar." It featured interviews of college Republicans and their sentiments regarding the atmosphere they have observed around campus since the election. Many described unsettling feelings of resentment towards conservatives, an inability to express their political views, and even fear. Some admitted to transferring colleges because of political reasons.
The article was picked up by City Pages, where it painted a slightly negative image of the college. And today, I watched a video from Fox News of an interview from a Republican student at my college about the article and the feelings of college Republicans. This video painted a more than slightly negative image of the school; it made it seem like a toxic environment full of disdain and hatred.
I would like to politely disagree.
Granted, I consider myself to be liberal. And I agree--some of the comments made towards conservatives were absolutely out of line and should have been immediately stopped. I found myself leaving rallies after seeing the downtrodden faces of some of my conservative classmates. However, I would like to point out that there are two sides to every story.
The article and interview mentioned that someone shouted at a rally, "If you voted for Trump, you better be f***ing scared." This behavior is unacceptable. Yet, at a different rally, what seemed to be Trump supporters shouted at liberals, "Get over it!" While these comments have varying levels of severity, both don't exactly welcome inclusion.
Another event that was brought up was the peaceful vigil that happened soon after the election. What Fox News described as an event for the "death of America" was actually a vigil to represent a coming together in the midst of political divide. It featured personal stories, songs, candles, and a circle of strangers uniting as one.
I can't say that I've felt targeted on campus. Therefore, perhaps, I've been living in ignorant bliss. But, at a time of such political divide in Washington, college campuses simply must stand united. It is true that we learn from example, but it's time to be stronger than Washington and be an image of inclusion and tolerance. In my opinion, both sides have a lesson to learn. If we are so divided that we feel the need to swear at conservatives, or bash liberals on national television, we have an issue that must be addressed and eliminated. Political differences are natural, but such polarization is not.
After all, as stated by J.K. Rowling, "We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided."