Editorial: A Call For Space on Campus to Foster Political Common Ground

A Call for Space on Campus To Foster Political Common Ground

courtesy of diablomag.com

A Call for Space on Campus To Foster Political Common Ground


In light of the SGA forum about the certification of SGA senators as safe space ambassadors, the Villanovan Editorial Board calls for a place on campus to encourage political discussion for the purpose of finding common ground. 

Our generation came of voting age in an extremely polarized political environment characterized by ideological extremes and a widening political divide. It is more common to hear about Congress members undercutting their ideological “opponents” than “reaching across the aisle.” It is more common to be confronted about political differences than feel listened to. It is a rare occurrence to engage in mild-tempered and respectful conversations about political issues overflowing with emotion. 

Our generation is often labeled as the driving force of modern political polarization and ideological divide. We are often considered too passionate, too stubborn and unwilling to bridge the gap between our peers and older generations. Our generation cannot seem to shake the perception that we are the root of the problem and the cause for the gridlock that has characterized American political processes as far back as we can remember.

Although these conversations are extremely difficult, they are necessary. How do we expect to progress as a society if we cannot exercise empathy? If we cannot fully listen to the “other side’s” arguments for the sake of different ideas? If we cannot accept the discomfort that comes with the territory of discussing emotionally charged issues? Without the implementation of these tactics, political gridlock and the expanding ideological divide will continue to prevail. 

It is hard to imagine that one person’s actions will profoundly affect the political environment of our current polarized and unwavering government functioning. However, a campus wide initiative to start the hard conversations and advocate for political common ground will demonstrate the willingness and ability of individuals to engage with the ‘other side.’

Beginning to practice empathy in conversations about political issues, especially those you feel strongly about or identify directly with, may expose you to arguments and knowledge you weren’t aware of. It may uncover a space where seemingly contrasting values and beliefs meet in the middle. It may even refine your own argumentative skills and make you a more effective advocate for what you are passionate about. 

We are not arguing that your convictions should be softened or to be less passionate citizens. Instead, we are advocating for a willingness to engage with difficult political issues. We are encouraging efforts to set aside pre-conceived notions in order to consider that oppose your own values. If we are unwilling to bridge the ideological gap, then we will not accomplish effective and long-lasting change. 

The political gridlock that characterizes modern politics stems from an unwillingness to engage with the other side on important issues that affect millions of Americans. Therefore, if we take it upon ourselves as college students and citizens to reject the pattern of ideological gridlock and initiate difficult conversations then, we will be the generation that finds common ground instead of widening the political divide.