Arizona senator John McCain died earlier this month. After serving as a US Senator for over 30 years, he has been referred to as “America’s last true Republican”. In McCain’s farewell to the country, read two days after his death, he wrote, “We are three-hundred-and-twenty-five million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country, we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.”
McCain was known for his conservative standpoint, but he was also known for compromise. He was respected across any and all political parties for understanding that the well-being of the American people was a need greater than his own political agenda. He was willing to reach across the aisle and compromise with those opposing him, a practice which many politicians today don’t take part in.
We often let our political allegiances get in the way of what we actually believe. There’s such strong commitment to either being this or that, many forget to consider what they truly think. This unwillingness to consider the in-between of politics, to refuse to look from the other side of things simply because they don’t align with your party’s views, creates undesired tension and stand-still in our political environment.
There’s been much debate over the polarizing effect of political parties, creating a political environment which is very much black and white rather than seeing gray. With the passing of McCain, the question of what the Republican party stands for has been discussed, calling attention to the growing trend of the party which believes in unwavering ideologies and viewing compromise as a lack of loyalty.
College, for many, is a time which you are exposed for the first time to different politically ideologies than your own. It’s easy, growing up in a house that believes in one way or another, to decide early on that that’s also what you believe in, just because it’s convenient.
However, convenience isn’t necessarily the most productive or effective way to decide upon a political viewpoint. College is an awesome time to take in the opinions around you, and branch out from what you have probably been taught growing up. Do your own research and make decisions for yourself. When making that decision though, it’s vital to consider what you believe in morally, socially economically, etc., and, to also understand what other’s believe in. Then, given the opportunity to discuss with someone opposing you, you have a more comprehensive view, driven off of personal values rather than party values.
Our country has become more and more politically polarized, refusing to even consider things from the other side. It’s either one way or the high way for many, and in the end opting for stubbornness and strict ideological commitment is more important than making a decision by working and listening to one another.
McCain’s practice of political compromise is something we should all strive to emulate, something politicians in office currently should also take after. As college students, we are given the perfect environment to practice compromise and understanding. It should be more important for us to want to best for our country as a whole, rather than a party as a whole. Sure, subjectively one may be right or wrong. However, deciding to listen to those who we see as wrong, is a better practice than just putting up walls and refusing to discuss further. At the end of the day, our political parties shouldn’t get in the way of political progress.
The Carrier’s editorial opinion represents the views of the senior members of the Campus Carrier and Viking Fusion news staff.