By ANDREW TERRY
Political debate at the moment feels a little like entering a gladiatorial arena. People have strong feelings about “politics,” which is why a lot of people choose simply not to talk about what they believe either out of fear of being ridiculed or just from an overall apathy from so much happening all at once.
Every day, lawmakers try to legislate away the rights of minority groups and underprivileged people, who often don’t have the same power to influence legislation as upper class, white citizens.
“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice,” Martin Luther King Jr, wrote in his Letter from Birmingham jail. Those words are just as relevant now as they were when they were written.
Refusing to take a side in issues where a group of people’s fundamental rights are up for debate, in effect, is no different from supporting the people taking away rights. Asking for compromise and civility when one side is filled with hatred only serves to maintain oppression.
Democracies cannot function without free expression, and, thankfully, the United States guarantees all of us the right to express our opinions freely, as long as they don’t hurt others. Nothing will change if we refuse to discuss politics in order to maintain ‘civility.’
Whenever you speak out about an issue, you are raising your voice for someone who may not be able to raise theirs. Even if you don’t see it, the actions of political officials affect the real daily lives of someone.
Of course, no one can take a well-thought-out stance on every issue, but you can try to learn about the things you feel are most important to you. A population who know what and who they vote for does not allow for corruption or decay of civil rights.