by Noah Barbieri
This election cycle I personally have found that I have failed to be completely open to the opinions and ideas of people who support the candidate that differs from my own choice—especially on campus— and it is bothering me. What bothers me even more is that the campus is not doing a great job of accepting people who support Donald Trump. Many of us, including myself, disagree with Trump, a candidate who many perceive to be hostile to inclusive policies. Even though many of us think this, we allow ourselves to be hostile and exclusive to people who support him just because they support him. It is frankly hypocritical, and we can do better. From what I have seen, no one is explicitly hostile to Trump supporters (i.e. by giving threats, calling names), but implicitly many of us are culpable of being exclusive by not accepting that someone who supports Trump has opinions as to why they are voting for him and then asking them about their ideas in a productive manner (i.e. without the intent of attacking them after they state their opinion).
The Major Call was written by students in 2005, and it is a statement that every current student signed in agreement. It says, “We call ourselves to a respectful life—respecting one another’s privacy, property and personal development.” I do not think as a whole we are currently trying to move toward respecting others when it comes to whom they are voting for. I fear that there are people who do not feel like they can share their opinion on this issue because they are afraid of backlash on campus. I have considered if the institution of Millsaps College can remedy this problem by action, but I think the ball is in the student’s court on this one and we collectively need to step up. As long as there is at least one person on campus who feels that their opinion does not matter, we are failing. If you fear students’ political opinions are being silenced and/or believe you have failed to completely respect who others are voting for, join me in being intentional to have a campus where freedom of thought is not only allowed, but it is an actual reality.
Noah Barbieri is a junior and the current SBA treasurer. If you would like to discuss ideas about political opinions on campus drop by the SBA office between 12 and 2 p.m. on Tuesdays or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.