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We, the Campus: Finding Common Ground in the Face of Polarization

By Luke Hertzel

As an active student of politics in the United States, Social Media Chair of College Republicans, and the Engagement Director for the TCNJ Political Union, I would like to express my feelings on the state of political polarization that we currently see. Although I am a proud Republican, I do not share the viewpoint with some fellow Republicans that Democrats or opposing viewpoints are my enemy. In a country that was built on compromise, we must welcome peaceful and healthy debates and recognize that we have a common goal: solving the issues we face as a country. While there are many polarizing figures in politics today—from TV show hosts to the politicians themselves— the best advice I can give to people is to stay engaged and stay in the debate, but remain level headed and remind yourself that the person you are debating deserves respect. They, too, have had their own life experiences which have lead them to have their respective ideologies.

Far too often, when discussing politics with my friends, they bow out from the conversation in order to “avoid confrontation.” Government in the United States requires the involvement of the people and not just every two years in an election. To quote Frederick Douglass, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” This wisdom is pertinent to this topic because yes, sometimes we may not see eye to eye and sometimes we may, but what is most important is that we are in this together. We go through struggle and success as a nation, not as political parties. Whoever wins the election this November will be our President come January. A Democrat will still be the President to Republicans and a Republican will be the President of Democrats. We should welcome opposing viewpoints as they give us a prospective other than our own. Instead of trying to silence our opposition, we should gather our facts and contribute to a larger debate with a common goal of bettering our country and its future.

Remembering what is at stake is necessary for our success as a country. The nation which endured a Civil War, helped to free Europe from fascism, landed on the moon, and helped tear down a wall must now focus on ending the stark political polarization which continues to divide us. We must come together as one American people to solve our problems.

Luke Hertzel is a junior political science major and involved in TCNJ Political Union as well as TCNJ College Republicans.


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