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Staff editorial: Open mindedness key to better political discourse

Fostering+respectful+dialogue+is+crucial+to+building+a+functioning+democracy+and+sustainable+community.+All+opinions+should+be+respected+in+discussion.
Fostering respectful dialogue is crucial to building a functioning democracy and sustainable community. All opinions should be respected in discussion.

Fostering respectful dialogue is crucial to building a functioning democracy and sustainable community. All opinions should be respected in discussion.

Jane Anderson

Jane Anderson

Fostering respectful dialogue is crucial to building a functioning democracy and sustainable community. All opinions should be respected in discussion.


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With the increasingly tense political climate, the editorial board believes Park must better work toward fostering a community where all voices are respected.

We must ensure people with opposing opinions feel safe and respected. The key aim of our community should be creating an environment where students feel safe sharing their beliefs, while recognizing the difficulty of current politics for marginalized groups.

It is equally critical to recognize the difficulty and tension that exists for many people in our community as a result of Trump administration policies.

For hundreds of years, the free exchange of ideas has been crucial to our freedom as American citizens. The freedom to dissent — protest, argue, discuss and debate — is the foundation of our democracy.

When we look beyond political tension, we know that as Americans and citizens of the world, we share common values. When we have an outlook where we give each other a chance and speak to one another with an open mind, we will create a safe community.

For some may resent Muslims, for example, if they’ve never met a Muslim. Park is lucky to be a diverse community where students and staff can gain many perspectives on complex issues. It is therefore crucial we enter political discussions with open minds and work hard not to live in political silos.

Liberals in the Park community often live in a bubble. Division in political alignment shows how these silos have become stronger.

It is important that liberals recognize Trump supporters are not all hateful bigots. Conversely, conservatives and liberals must both ensure they value respect for all individuals, regardless of race or background.

Conservatives and Trump supporters should recognize the distress that the election and the early days of Trump’s presidency have created for individuals concerned with what they see as racism and xenophobia.

These tense political times have the potential to produce a generation of high school students who engage with one another and participate in the politics that affect them.

We should enter discussions not with the intention of winning an argument, but to reach a point of understanding and mutual respect. Students should avoid name calling and insults — people are often quick to say “You’re a racist” instead of “I believe the policy you support is racist, and here’s why.”

Community members need to work hard to have conversations with people they disagree with and continue to broaden their understanding of different viewpoints.

The silencing of dissent dismantles individuals’ abilities to engage in meaningful conversation. When people shut out opinions they don’t like or intentionally make other individuals feel unsafe with their political talk, they sacrifice other people’s confidence in exercising their First Amendment rights.

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The student news site of St. Louis Park High School
Staff editorial: Open mindedness key to better political discourse