Opinion: Political tolerance leads to more productive conversation

Luci Guess and Grace Brookshire

Our society is notoriously a no nuance zone and political association is certainly no exception to this. There’s an ongoing battle between red and blue. It is imperative that we do our part as a generation to realize that there is purple and find solutions to whatever issues are thrown at us. 

I can’t help but think of the story of the founding fathers original fear of political parties. According to  history.com, after seeing how the then called factions “… ripped England apart in the bloody civil wars of the 17th century,” the founding fathers desperately wanted to avoid any possible division to form the most democratic government possible. 

 In this time of high tension between political parties, we as a country have accomplished the first step towards a more democratic government like the one our founding fathers hoped for, by increasing our political participation. It seems as though everyone has some sort of opinion on current issues. You can see it in the hallways when students have a pro-choice pin on their backpack or a Daily Wire sticker on their water bottle. 

Distracted by how people choose to label themselves, the common ground is often ignored. When the parties do work together, real and significant progress can be made. A recent example of a bipartisan bill signed into law was on June 25, the “Keep Kids Fed Act of 2022,” which extends flexibility for nutrition programs for school meals and childcare centers.  

Even though there are commonalities, the competition between conservatives and liberals is comparable to America in the 1790s, when according to  history.com,, Democratic-Republicans and Federalists were “bitterly attacking each other” in newspapers about administrative policies, similar to the smear campaigns that dominate our screens in the modern era. Br

According to thehill.com, in regard to President Donald Trump’s election campaign, “Between social media, doctored videos and his rallies this will be a tear down campaign like nobody has ever seen.” Both today and in the 1790s the disagreements within politics are black and white. One party is wrong, one is right and the overlap is ignored. The difference now is that politicians are able to spread abhorrent information quickly due to social media.

It is crucial to recognize the importance of sharing your opinion in a beneficial way. This means using logic and research to inform others not only what your opinion is, but how you came to that conclusion. Informing people is not always going to convince them to change their opinions. However, it  gives them another perspective to weigh against their own. 

In those controversial conversations it is too common to see someone’s ideas being shut down because it does not align with the popular opinion. It leaves people intimidated to share their perspective out of fear of being shut down. 

In order to prevent people from feeling unheard and unrepresented, political tolerance needs to be practiced. Contrary to popular belief, political tolerance is not limited to not calling the other person names. It also includes simply listening. Because at the end of the day, no matter who you are or what political party you are associated with, your ideas and thoughts are not more important than your peers. For this reason it is important to go into every conversation with an open mind and a willingness to listen. 

Ultimately, a better world is a bipartisan goal. The best thing about that is, a better world means something different to every person. Therefore, political tolerance allows us to create and vote on the best solution for our nation, based on a diversity of ideologies from good conversation. 

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