Students Reflect on Political Discussion Series
On January 4, 2019, the Young Democrats and Young Republicans combined forces on a new project: the Hopkins Political Discussion Series, where the two clubs hosted a collaborative discussion on the topic of gun violence and methods of prevention.
This, however, did not mark their frst joint meeting, as they held two previous meetings in late November and mid-December on the topics of the Constitution and immigration policy. Noah Giglietti ’20, co-head of Young Republicans and one of the organizers of this new program, said their mission “is mainly based in awareness. We’re trying to remove that ‘us versus them’ mentality and realize that people from all across the political spectrum are looking to solve these hot button issues. It’s a matter of making it clear of each other’s intentions and fnd a common ground.”
Ella Zuse ’21, co-head of Young Democrats, said that this discussion was “really diferent from ones we have had in the past because it was focused around three articles we sent to everyone. We focused on the specifc arguments that had been presented [in the articles] which then expanded into a more general discussion.”
Co-head of Young Republicans, Alessandro Amoedo ’20, commented on the quality of conversation: “The discussion was generally civil; I would not say anyone argued with each other but of course there was a back-and-forth about the interpretation of free speech and the right to bear arms. In regards to participation, the floor was open for anyone to put in their input and it was generally quite balanced.”
Ben Nields ‘19 spoke on the nature of important, yet polarizing, debates such as these, saying “Typically conversations about gun control devolve into a volleyball match of weak talking points. While there was some of that, I think our focus was on the more complex aspects of the issue.” Glover also noted: “The dialogue was respectful the entire time, and I felt like everyone listened to the points the other side made in an efort to foster more productive discussion.”
Madeleine Walker ’19, co-head of Young Democrats, urges all to take the opportunity to “reach across the aisle” and join in the discussion. Amoedo added, “It was very productive for both clubs. That’s why we decided to do the Political Discussion series at Hopkins, so people could share their opinions regardless of what party they belong to. It is important for both sides to learn what each other is thinking and that joint meeting helped with starting it.”
Nields assessed the meeting’s end, saying, “There wasn’t a consensus over any one solution. I think what’s important is that everyone lef the discussion with a greater understanding of all the different perspectives involved with the gun control debate.”