THE SANTA CLARA
May 12, 2016
Imagine a child screaming at the top of their lungs and covering their ears. This is how Democrats see Republicans, how Republicans see Democrats and how we see anyone we don’t agree with.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with people disagreeing or even disagreeing loudly. Where we get into trouble as a nation and as students is when we turn into screaming children and refuse to question our own beliefs.
All sides of any opposing philosophies are hurt when we blindly accept whatever we’re told and spout off ideas we don’t understand or know why we believe.
This doesn’t just apply to political beliefs. There are some beliefs we hold—spiritual or cultural— that we have inherited from our parents or society. The beliefs themselves aren’t usually the problem, but it is an issue when you can’t explain why you believe something. Students need to question what they’re told and what they believe in because exploration and self-reflection is what college is for. College should turn us into thoughtful adults. Once we get out of the cushy little bubble of Santa Clara, it’s important to know for sure why you are who you are.
I understand that not everybody wants to go out of their way to listen to someone with an opposing viewpoint. However, hearing the other side’s arguments can only benefit you if you come into it willing to listen. This does not mean you accept what they say or respect them for saying it—you just listen.
Being informed about the other side’s perspective can actually strengthen your own viewpoints, since you figure out why your side is justified or where your beliefs are flawed. It is through this reflection process that you strengthen your own beliefs.
Last quarter I took an ethics class that looked at controversial issues like abortion. I’ve always been pro-choice because I don’t think it is my place to make a blanket statement about such a complicated, personal decision. However, through that class, I was exposed to multiple pro-life arguments, some of which I actually agreed with.
I was uncomfortable even admitting to myself I found some truth in the pro-life essays because I still wasn’t pro-life nor was I convinced that their argument logically concluded with abortion being wrong. I had to take a hard look at the arguments we studied and figure out exactly why I hadn’t been convinced. In doing this, I reinforced my beliefs using the opposing side’s arguments.
As college students and as citizens of this world, we have a duty to question everything. We should question our beliefs just as we question the commercials that promise miraculous weight loss or the beautiful, luscious hair you always dreamed of. Constant assessment and reassessment is necessary to make our beliefs strong.
As this election season has shown, ideologies become a problem when people blindly follow the party line and don’t understand the reasoning for their own views. So believe what you will but make sure you have a reason for it. Make sure it’s a belief you choose, not one someone else choose for you. You might end up exactly the same person you were, but at least you will know for sure that’s who you are.
Perla Luna is a first year sociology and English major and is the editor of the Opinion Section.