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    • "Rhyme and Reason" -Ben Nields '19

A Call for Peace

It would be an understatement to call the current political climate polarizing. Democrats and Republicans are essentially at war, and both sides view each other as the Antichrist.
This war is unnecessary. Instead, we should strive for intellectual discussion, thriving on cool emotions and hard facts. That is why we are calling for disarmament: a peace accord of sorts.

First, we want to establish that not all Trump supporters are racists and not all liberals are hypocrites. If we stereotype those who disagree with us, it is impossible to learn anything from them.

We need to remove emotions from politics. Students should still be passionate about what they believe, but should not feel morally superior to others.

Humility is essential in order to engage in meaningful debate. If we do not respect our political opponents, then we cannot listen to them and thus learn from them.

We do not want free speech to be limited at Hopkins. We do not want conservative students to feel as if they cannot discuss their opinions in fear of inciting ridicule or judgement from their peers. Instead we want to encourage them to speak out, to complicate class discussion and introduce new ideas to the school.
The only way to combat this problem of polarization is to learn more. Understand the events that led to the current political climate. Learn about past societies who have solved our very own dilemmas. History class has taught us that we cannot not rely on only one authority. Look at a variety of sources and identify the bias of each one. Formulate personal assessments rather than just following the mantra of one political ideology.

There is no need for this “research” to be rigorously academic. Visit forums and read posts. Watch YouTube videos. Just listen to different ideas and try to understand the opinions of others.
Try to have an open mind. Learn about the arguments up for debate, and be flexible when new information comes along. At the end of the research session, the issues may be clearer.

We are not encouraging students to stay silent. Some students do not have the time or interest to research every controversial issue. That is fine. Everyone can still have visceral opinions about topics, and we should share our thoughts. However, we have the obligation to admit when we do not know enough about the subject. This act of humility can limit hostility, as students will hopefully educate each other instead of ridiculing each other.

There is hope for our school. The Gun Violence Assembly was impressive, as student leaders took the initiative to include multiple opinions in school-wide debate. Mack Reiferson ’18 eloquently stated in a school-wide email, “As someone who is known for having less popular political opinions, I want to reassure you all that no political views will be censored in any way. The word ‘offensive’ was a miscommunication on our part. The nature of these discussions is bound to always offend someone, which is what makes them so difficult and uncomfortable to have.”

We need voices like these in the Hopkins community: people who are willing to give space to a broad spectrum of political opinions. We hope that this effort to include a variety of views will be replicated in future school discussions. The merit of our scholarship depends on it.
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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
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 an open forum publication, is published monthly during the school year by students of: 
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