Not Entirely Worthless – vad – mcb

Christopher Paustian

It was refreshing to see so much of the student body taking a shared interest in voting. For many students, this past Tuesday afforded us our first opportunity to help make decisions about pressing social and political issues.
Despite the forty-five minute line, I happily waited my turn to register, knowing that so many Lawrentians were out making their opinions count.
I am, however, quite relieved that the campaign period is finally over. At first I was excited to discover how easy it was to acquire information regarding the candidates and referendums, especially the one concerning the banishment of civil unions. This period was short-lived, and pretty soon we started making fools out of ourselves.
The referendum on civil unions proved to be the greatest source of division among students. Because of this one referendum there were sidewalk chalkings altered, discriminating flyers posted, messages oversimplified, motives distorted, student groups ostracized, and hateful names cast at the expense of voters on each side.
The most outstanding problem that I see with voting on issues such as the civil union ban is that it takes the diverse spectrum of humanity and lumps it all into two clear-cut, black and white groups. Once you’re in a group, you have supporters and you have a group that disagrees with your particular views.
It’s a simple concept, and there’s nothing wrong with it. That is, there’s nothing wrong with it until people start to view the opposite group as enemies rather than people with different viewpoints.
This simplified manner of thinking leads to dislike and even hatred of the other group. It also leads to all the stupid means of persuasion we saw over the past couple weeks: “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” or “A vote for the ban is a vote for hate.” Has crap like that ever persuaded anyone of anything? All this does is lead to more hate and misunderstanding.
At Salman Rushdie’s convocation last year, the acclaimed novelist and essayist commented about our collective need for a binding community of humans.
Before you’re American or Mexican, you’re a person. Before you favor the left or the right, you’re human. Before you vote “yes” or “no,” you belong to the species that’s allegedly the smartest on the planet.
I’m not saying we should all hold hands, put our arguments aside, and have a group hug. But be passionate about an ideal without embarrassing yourself as a Lawrentian, political party member, or person.
It was fantastic to see the voting Lawrentians out in force, but next time there’s an issue of relevance and prominence that permeates the student body, why not have a debate rather than cowardly mocking or oversimplifying the views of others?