By the time this issue goes to press, there will be a new president of the United States of America. The nation will take a collective sigh of relief as this treacherous election season comes to a close. Alas, the end of an era of aggressive campaign ads and Twitter feeds overrun by the relentless pushing of political agendas.
And of course, with the end of one era, a new era inevitably begins. Maybe it is that we are all approaching a stage in life wherein we have become increasingly aware of the hefty impact that governmental leadership carries, or maybe it’s this specific election cycle, but we at the Andersonian feel that these past several months of platforms and debates and mudslinging have been particularly exhausting. The lines of separation across party affiliations have grown so deeply entrenched that we can hardly see our way out of the holes we have each dug for ourselves.
As college students, we would like to think that we are all equitable, educated individuals capable of carrying on a meaningful conversation about the current state of our nation. And yet, as college students, we would also like to think that we are usually, if not always, right.
Last week, there was a forum on immigration reform hosted by the Hispanic Latino Student Association. Members of the College Democrats and College Republicans clubs were invited to attend, as well as the larger student and staff population. There was a panel that included AU students who had entered the country illegally, and the audience was encouraged to ask questions and share their opinions on the issue. The most beautiful part of it was that, at the end of the forum, not one person left angry. In fact, many stayed long after it had ended to continue discussing policy, reform and other hot-button issues facing our society today.
No matter how hard we try, we will never ever reach a unanimous agreement when it comes to politics. But that’s not the point. In fact, it’s just the opposite. What matters is that we talk about it. What matters is that we think about it. What matters is that we listen. And that when someone offers up an opinion that in some way collides with our own, that we don’t plug our ears, stick up our nose and write them off as a blubbering imbecile. Rather, let’s step into the possibility of having our individual opinions and beliefs challenged, knowing that it just might lead to that which we are all in some way seeking: peace.
Whether it’s Trump, Clinton, Johnson, or the random Write-In that somehow surpasses all three, there will certainly be (if there has not already been) a great deal of pushback and outrage from citizens who disagree with the outcome. But the Andersonian staff would challenge that we here at AU would stand out among the scoffers and dare to accept the new era with grace and poise, considering that it may just be another opportunity to be stretched and grown in ways we never saw coming.