Our political divide strengthens us in preparation for the real world

Our+political+divide+strengthens+us+in+preparation+for+the+real+world

Carsten Savage

BY CARSTEN SAVAGE (’17)

California and Texas are known for being overwhelmingly Democratic and Republican, respectively. At Granville, many students may wish that the student body was similarly homogenous; we naturally want those around us to agree with us politically so that we feel self-assured in our beliefs and comfortable. Yet, just like our swing state, we are deeply divided in political affiliation, and we demonstrate that every day. Many see our deep division as a shame, but it is beneficial because it prepares us for the real world by teaching us tolerance.

When we see Trump posters or Hillary stickers in the hallways, we gain patience that many Americans lack. We find ideas and politicians we may not agree with plastered everywhere, and we learn to pass by without tearing them down or mentally breaking apart; we accept that people with these ideas exist in the world but choose not to identify with them, making us healthier members of society as a whole. While some people feel obligated to destroy property containing ideas they do not like, we remain civilized and reasonable.

The political conversations throughout our halls are essential learning experiences. Civil disputes between Democrat and Republican students teach them to debate in a way that furthers democracy. Arguing, agreeing and giving in when we know we’ve been outwitted in an argument endows us with important skills that will help us throughout our professional lives. Instead of physically attacking Trump or Hillary supporters like some militants throughout the country, we are preparing ourselves for the world of intelligent and civil arguments lying outside these walls.

There are communities and institutions in California that have a majority of Republicans, and there are towns in Texas that are mostly Democrat. To survive in this polarized world, we have to be able to tolerate others’ ideas without destroying property or vilifying those who do not believe with us. We cannot escape others’ views and move to a “paradise” where differences in political affiliation do not exist; we must learn to live with them. At Granville, we do so, and we become stronger.