Students: stop ignoring politics

John Brown University has an incredible community. We support one another in sports, academics, spirituality and personal growth. Having spent nearly four years as part of this community, it’s been an amazing college experience. But one thing has been made clear to me. Politics is largely taboo among our student body, and severely ignored. I wouldn’t call JBU apolitical, but I would say that political conversation has been somewhat stifled among the student body.

Of course we all have political perspectives, but we seem to be stuck in this netherworld of millennialism. When it comes to issues such as race, homosexuality, welfare programs, abortion and other sensitive topics, I’ve found that we as a generation are extremely conscious of offending others’ feelings and perspectives. And while we should aim for sensitivity, we shouldn’t let the comfort of an issue play a role in whether we discuss it or not. Politics is not a game of comfort, but one of dialogue and communication.

I’ll be the first to admit that I come to the table with a great deal of bias, but it’s my desire to discuss politics with those of both similar and differing opinions. Society doesn’t exactly benefit from one-way discussions between like-minded individuals, but it evolves and (hopefully) improves through competition in the marketplace of ideas.

Politics is perhaps one of the most important areas of society right behind religion and family. It affects our everyday lives in ways that are hard to imagine. Everything from the speed limit we all abide by in West Siloam, to the dishwasher detergent you use at home, is determined by politicians and bureaucrats. Taxes, student loan and education all reserve major roles for the government.

We here in the United States are blessed with an incredible form of self-governance that allows us to have a say in things. We should not take this idea of self-governance lightly. To govern us well, we must educate ourselves and engage in meaningful conversations. It is my hope that JBU will play its part in fostering the conversation.

A couple of years ago, I started a College Republican Club here on campus with the hope that I could somehow create political engagement. This year a new College Democrats Club is being founded. I believe that these clubs can spur on not just controversial dialogue, but encouraging dialogue.

I’m conservative to the core, but I’m always willing to discuss other viewpoints with the promise of understanding and reason. We need both liberals and conservatives, Christians and those of other philosophies; we need good discussion. I hope that JBU will foster these important conversations without embarrassment, and will be able to encourage one another to think critically. Our generation will one day lead this nation; so let’s begin discussing its direction today.

Moore is a senior majoring in marketing. He can be reached at MooreJe@jbu.edu.