Political Discourse

Introduction to the Op-Ed Page

Annie Austin and Tivas Gupta

Political discourse is the foundation for our country’s democracy. Our Founding Fathers imagined a country with robust discourse, a place where we could disagree while still finding common ground. Every major accomplishment our country has achieved has stemmed from this idea of public discussions of ideas, ranging from the founding of our republic to governance in the twenty first century.  However, that public discourse has never been more at risk than it is today. Now more than ever, Americans are unwilling to bridge the divide and engage in respectful discourse. People are comfortable surrounding themselves in their opinions, living in an echo chamber that makes engagement with those who disagree unfathomable. On both sides of the aisle, extremes are becoming increasingly prominent, forging a wide gap between people who claim to serve their country.

An ad by Nike splits the nation. A study about global warming is embraced by one side and immediately dismissed by the other, with neither actually reading it. Important political issues are treated as partisan talking points, and progress on these topics falls to the wayside. Americans realize that this is a problem. According to Pew, “Just 25% say the following statement – “The tone of debate among political leaders is respectful” – describes the country very (6%) or somewhat well (19%).” However, it seems like we are doing little to make improvements. It is so easy to dismiss another’s viewpoint without engaging it. However, doing this will only cause the political discourse in our nation to worsen.

What can we do as the Ignatius community? It our job to to remain educated on public affairs, to demand for and engage in stronger and more respectful discourse, and to practice civility even with those who we hold fundamental disagreements with. As editors of this page, we tend to disagree, as many can attest to, frequently. It is not disagreement that is harmful, it is the unwillingness to find consensus that hurts our country. Throughout the year, you will find many pieces in this section that you may agree or disagree with. It is our hope that you’ll look towards solutions with those you agree with, and common ground for those you don’t. In the end, we all want the same thing: peace, prosperity, and a bright future, not only ourselves, but our city, nation, and global community.