Discourse / Letters / November 2, 2016

Letter to the Editor: Knox offers safe space for liberals

Connie Meade '19

Connie Meade ’19

After reading “Conservatives are Quiet on Campus” in last week’s TKS edition, I felt the need to respond.

I am the President of Knox College Democrats. I am a sophomore and I took over the position in my freshman year. Despite Knox being overwhelmingly liberal, I believe I was the one offered the position because no one seemed to want it. The former President of the club, who now works for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, told me that he would not miss Knox after encountering so many peers who attacked his beliefs about Clinton.

Although I voted for Bernie Sanders in the Illinois primaries, I sympathized with his sentiments. During the primary season, if you shared that you were voting for Clinton instead of Sanders, you were called misinformed or in favor of a racist. There were liberal students who told Pro-Clinton minority students on campus how to vote.

I think it is true that liberal students on Knox’s campus can be very judgmental and accusatory toward conservatives. From my own perspective, I think that when a conservative student speaks out, the liberal student doesn’t see the other’s upbringing, or makes conclusions on why they are conservative. Rather, they see a racist, sexist or homophobic person. However, I think the same happens if the roles are reversed. Maybe liberals speak out here because if they were to speak out elsewhere, they would be called an idiot, a robber or a baby killer. They may endanger themselves, too. Both parties make quick emotional reactions that can be very hurtful. Neither are innocent.

The Knox Conservatives and the Knox Democrats have been attempting to schedule a time to debate. At first, I thought it would be fun. Now, I have been dreading it. When I think about a future debate, I imagine tears and shouting. I don’t want to be the person who planned an event with such an outcome. Truthfully, I think I may end up crying myself. When a person debates, it is hard to remove yourself from what it being said. When a conservative thinks welfare should be banned, a liberal may immediately think of their single mother who worked several jobs. When a liberal says immigration needs to be improved, a conservative may immediately think of their uncle who worked a factory job that was moved to Mexico after NAFTA. Despite the hurtful comments toward the other party, I think both groups are unconsciously standing up for their loved ones. So, I partially understand their anger or sadness.

Instead, I would like to hold a dialogue. How can the both parties come together? How can we hold different beliefs while still respecting each other? In the end, both Democrats and Republicans just want to improve their country. So, I ask ­— is this a better alternative? Email me at ckmeade@knox.edu.

Connie Meade

Tags:  debate Knox Conservatives Knox Democrats letter to the editor politics

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