OPINION: Hyper-partisanship will get us nowhere

After last week’s FBI investigation, Sen. Susan Collins showed us the flagrant partisanship within our country. Collins demanded an investigation of Brett Kavanaugh after hearing Christine Ford’s sexual assault testimony.

But, she did not call for an investigation of former Sen. Al Franken or presume his innocence when sexual misconduct allegations arose. Instead, she ordered him to resign from office effective immediately.

This problem of partisanship did not start with one party. They are all responsible for keeping the current status quo.

Few people are willing to challenge this culture within politics and when they do, it receives immense quantities of attention. Our nation’s reliance on this portion of politicians is quite concerning.

John McCain followed his duties as a senator and “maverick.” The Republicans would have never welcomed John McCain into the party if they knew he was willing to oppose his own party for the sake of the Affordable Care Act, campaign finance reform, etc.

Senators are elected by their constituents, not their parties. Therefore, their main duty is to represent their constituents, not solely the views of their party.

Across the Claremont Colleges, each campus often has its own political flavor decided by its history, faculty, and traditions. Therefore, each institution nurtures its students in an environment with views that are commonly held.

Thus, partisanship at the colleges is different from the behavior of the U.S. Senate because it is not nearly as equally polarized.

I was apprehensive to take courses and attend talks with conservative professors and speakers because I was afraid that addressing the polar opposite of my views might cause me to question or even doubt them.

While it’s good to feel the support of a community that shares the same views as oneself, it becomes difficult to learn about opposing views in great depth and understand why someone might support those ideologies.

This understanding of other political views cannot happen by attending events with politicians, pundits, or academics who share the same views as oneself. It occurs when individuals interact with those who they wouldn’t normally align themselves with.

This thought can be scary.

I was apprehensive to take courses and attend talks with conservative professors and speakers because I was afraid that addressing the polar opposite of my views might cause me to question or even doubt them.

However, as a Democrat and a government major from an incredibly liberal town, I vowed to take my first government courses with some of Claremont McKenna College’s notable conservative professors. I took them, knowing that I would not agree with some or most of their views but with a desire to understand why I didn’t agree with them.

Elena Neff CM ’21 is studying government and international relations, and from Palo Alto, California. She enjoys listening to Sufjan Stevens and drinking pamplemousse La Croix.

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