The Gift of Ignatius’ Politics

Tivas Gupta

There are many benefits to an Ignatius education. With top ranked academics in the state, a strong religious foundation, wonderful fellow students and teachers, and competitive athletics, there is no shortage of reasons to attend this school. However, one advantage is often overlooked- the wide variety of political views you can find within the walls of SICP. Partly due to the wide range of race, neighborhood, socioeconomic status, and other important factors of students, you can find a wide range of opinions at Ignatius. To find proof of that, look at the Op-Ed piece published by SPIRIT a few months ago on the subject of Brett Kavanaugh. When I was first editing that piece, I was curious when I saw the author ask members of the community about their opinions on the issue. To be honest, I was expecting surface level responses that all basically repeated the same talking points. However, to the contrary, the all of the student’s answers were varied and thoughtful. Many sides of the issue were discussed, and even when students agreed they had nuanced takes on the issue. The article reminded me how beneficial the wide variety of opinions found in our school can be.

This range of political views comes with downsides. In class, when someone says something we view as so clearly incorrect, many of us roll our eyes and tune the person out. When a classmate shares something offensive in class, so often we rush to iMessage to complain to our friends how wrong this person is. In a time when politics and our culture as a whole is becoming so tribalized, too often the Ignatius community divides itself in the same way. We dismiss classmates for their opinions, their ignorance, their incompetence. We fail to engage with our peers on the issues that are most important, and in the process miss out on important discussions that can go a long way in influencing opinions. In the first article fellow Co-Editor Annie Austin and I wrote for the Op-ed section this year, we wrote about how toxic the discourse in our nation currently can be. With the midterms and the political controversies that swirl around Washington, this issue has only become worse. In order for our school to avoid slipping down this same slope, we need to look for ways to listen to each other and appreciate the gift of Ignatian political diversity.

How can we do this? Respect the opinions of our peers. Seek out new ones. Attend Ignatius events that facilitate discussion, such as diversity dialogues. Don’t disparage or judge people for their beliefs, no matter how illogical or offensive they may seem. Instead, work to understand their point of view, and help them understand yours. Doing this will not only lead to a more productive political dialogue, but a more united school. As a community above all else, it is the Igantian thing to do.