College Republicans: Divided they stand

Courtesy of College Republicans at UCR
Courtesy of College Republicans at UCR

College Republicans nationwide are seeing backlash from College Democrats as well as from members within their own party, according to a recently published New York Times article. This is in large part due to the Republican nomination of Donald Trump whether or not collegiate chapters endorse Trump for president.

As of today, only a handful of College Republican chapters have made their endorsement for Trump official and many other chapters have abstained from endorsing Trump because they view him as antithetical and are ashamed of the nominee. The Harvard University chapter of College Republicans, for example, issued a statement on their Facebook page stating that for the first time in their 188-year history, they would not be endorsing their party’s nominee for these same reasons.

As a result, some members of the collegiate organization have decided to leave due to their differing views concerning the endorsement of Trump, but that still doesn’t change how others, like Democrats, view College Republicans. Criticism is still alive and well, but harassment and outright attacks on College Republicans because of their beliefs is much more rampant and that is where we should draw the line.

When it is intended to create an open and intellectually stimulating dialogue, it is okay to criticize organizations, such as the College Republicans, in an effort to understand and be able to work effectively with them on important policies and issues. However, in no way should an individual or organization take part in harassing or infringing on the rights of College Republicans or any other organization, for that matter. When one does infringe on an individual’s right of free speech, the argument is lost and cooperation between different political views is further damaged.

Since the birth of our nation, political parties have been at odds with one another on most policies; rarely being in harmonious agreement. One of the few policies Democrats and Republicans agree on revolves around the need for prison reform. According to the Huffington Post, both Democratic and Republican Congress members attended a 2015 summit on criminal justice reform in an effort to discuss key issues on the subject, such as overpopulation, fair sentences for drug offences and many other issues.

Seeing this type of cooperation is astonishing and absolutely necessary. It makes one believe that there should be more gatherings like this or even personal meetings like the one held between Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray to discuss their views on the Affordable Care Act, as exhibited in an excerpt in Elle magazine. It shows that there are differences between both politicians that can be used to work toward a compromise, that politicians are capable of using them to understand each other better.

Yet with self-proclaimed Republican Trump, for example, stereotyping Mexicans as rapists and Muslims as terrorists, it reflects very poorly on the whole Republican party. The official Republican nomination of Trump further sullies the name of the Republican party and cements that conservative view of Republicans in everyone else’s eyes.

With this view settled, opposing parties feel the need to react in a vicious and harmful way, which in turn requires the Republican party to have an us-versus-them view of our nation. This means that the division between the Republicans and Democrats deepens and Americans see no need to soften the division.

[pullquote]Remaining firm and closed-minded leads to stagnation in policy-making and creates new issues.[/pullquote]It promotes a culture of shaming one another for thinking differently— for interpreting American ideals differently from the majority. The truth is, though, that remaining firm and closed-minded leads to stagnation in policy-making and creates new issues.

Therefore, as citizens of a multi-party system, we need to be more open-minded and understanding of where our counterparts stand. We must be willing to listen and compromise and realize that we might not win them all with words, but we can get them thinking critically. While one may not agree with the views or beliefs of another party, that doesn’t mean they’re entitled to attacking, mocking or harassing another person.

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