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Political debates: Necessary for politicians and students

By Tanner Way

 Special to the Chronicle

Americans have had a weird 15 or so months. This election season has resembled a Comedy Central Roast more than a true presidential campaign, and our societal issues have only become more divisive. As the debate neared, Republicans, Democrats and single-issue voters voiced their opinions – but it doesn’t even matter.

We, as students at Hofstra and actors in the political process, must have a conversation. Everyone knows it – Donald Trump supporters, Hillary Clinton supporters, Gary Johnson supporters and the Black Student Union all realize that we need to discuss real issues.

However, nobody on this campus wants to do that. Koorosh Leibowitz, sophomore finance major and Trump supporter, asserted that Clinton “is a liar and [you] can’t trust her,” but has no problems with any of her supporters. Hillary’s supporters, however, have had a problem with Leibowitz and his attire. “A gentleman was surprised that I had a high enough GPA to get into Hofstra,” Leibowitz said.

Ariel McHowne, a freshman and fervent Hillary supporter, lambasted Trump supporters. “They’re all morons,” McHowne said. She also mentioned that people were avoiding students dressed in Trump garb. Despite this, McHowne did agree that Trump’s supporters have the right to voice their own opinions.

Every person interviewed said they would invite conversation with someone who has a different perspective, yet there is a shortage of these conversations.

That is the problem with our country right now; citizens are only willing to have an honest conversation with someone they agree with. When faced with the opposition, students tend to back down or not say how they truly feel in fear of backlash.

Democracy should not work like that. Democracy is built upon the free exchange of ideas and different points of view, not embarrassment and half-truths. An open conversation is the only way to solve the problems Americans are currently facing. Republicans cannot defeat radical Islamic terrorism by themselves. Democrats cannot fight for reproductive rights by themselves. Minorities cannot defeat police brutality without the help of the majority.

Salvatore Guardino a senior video/TV business major and Johnson supporter, also advocated for open conversation. He put it simply, “Nobody wants to sit down and talk.”

Good things come when we just sit down and talk about the issues present in our society. For example, in 1964, Republicans and Democrats worked together with President Lyndon B. Johnson to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed, closing the door on the Jim Crow Era.

A discussion between two opposing thinkers is bound to be uncomfortable. However, being uncomfortable is a part of growing and becoming better than you once were. Nobody that is serious about their health stops working out because it’s uncomfortable. This is the same thing, except now with much bigger stakes. 

The views and opinions expressed in the Op-Ed section are those of the authors of the articles. They are not an endorsement of the views of The Chronicle or its staff. The Chronicle does not discriminate based on the opinions of the authors.

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