January 30, 2017

DUGGAL | Competing Cultures

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I don’t particularly want to talk about politics. Throughout these past two years as an opinion columnist at The Sun, I have made the conscious decision to never directly address a political party, a candidate or the policies enacted by the US government. Don’t get me wrong — I have plenty to say, and I strongly believe that refusing to talk politics with the people around you is refusing to engage opinions other than your own. Acknowledging political opinions is attempting to understand and engage in a political atmosphere that reflects the values and happenings of a world that is greater than your own.

Yet I will not dedicate the ~800 words I am allowed every other week in The Sun to attack a party, a policy, or a candidate. There are a few reasons why. I don’t think an opinion column is necessarily the best form of political discourse, given that the only real discourse it allows for is for a reader to shoot me an angry email after having read an opinion I have fleshed out into a 500 word composition. I am most likely not going to change my mind, and if I am willing to put that opinion on the internet, I have also most likely researched the hell out of it and no amount of new information is going to drastically shift what I believe.

More importantly, however, I believe political opinion at its core is not entirely about the party, the policies or the candidate. There are, of course, people that support a party based on the supposed economic ramifications of certain policies, and people that support a party simply because their family has historically done the same. To me, political opinion has far more to do with the experiences and background one has that allow them to form and hold opinions on the topics encountered daily. For example, if you are a colored minority living in the south side of Chicago, no matter how many times a Republican candidate comes to your city and explains the rationale behind trickle down economics, you are probably not going to agree with the fact that the wealthy should get wealthier so you may also benefit sometime down the road. In order understand another political side, you must be willing to place yourself in the shoes of someone on the opposing side. Understanding why someone might hold a conflicting opinion means understanding a background and an upbringing that might look nothing like your own, and why that background might lead them to believe in policies with which you may disagree.

That being said, as much as I may try to place myself in the shoes of those whose lives and values lead them to support Trump’s immigration executive order, I cannot find myself  understanding why.

The order sucks and I look forward to every action that is taken against it.