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We endorse discussion this election season

Labeling, criticizing, and close-mindedness have dominated this election season. That’s a bigger problem for Americans than the candidates.

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On October 11, Father Cassidy delivered a meaningful message in our non-conventional Tuesday chapel meeting. He spoke about Syrian refugees and how the world seems to often be split into two, with each group intolerant of and ignorant to the ideals and conditions of the other.

Unfortunately, that sort of narrow-mindedness often characterizes our country during election times, especially this one. Conservatives and liberals first assign with their party rather than identifying as Americans, actively looking for the best future of our country.  

In a close-knit community with great values, there is no room for hatred in this election.

That Tuesday chapel service marked exactly four weeks until the next Commander-in-Chief of our country will be elected. Different international and domestic crises like terrorist attacks will be handled differently according to the policies of the next President. Discussing such a secular topic in a religious and holy setting opened our eyes.

Truth, Unity, and Love should transcend our campus on Warren Avenue and stay with us while having discussions around this extremely controversial election, as well as other challenges our country may face.

At the start of many classes, whenever we begin an assembly, and at the end of each day, we pray together. We engage with the Augustinian priests on our campus who have become so ingrained in our day to day lives. We are surrounded by unity daily and we have grown to first identity as Friars – brothers for life – rather than cliques or groups. In a close-knit community with these great values, there is no room for hatred in this election.

Even though most students at Malvern won’t be eligible to vote this election, we still have significant roles to play. The start of that responsibility is not only becoming tolerant of other viewpoints, but actively seeking them out. By encountering beliefs contrary to our own, Malvern students will learn from others, be more able to defend their own viewpoints, and become conscious of the way different opinions may impact others.

Every viewpoint surrounding an issue, no matter who says it, has value. These beliefs and viewpoints must be debated with respect. Agreement is not necessary. If your friend disagrees with you about politics, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean they’re ignorant or a bad person— it just means you disagree with each other.

Every viewpoint surrounding an issue, no matter who says it, has value. These beliefs and viewpoints must be debated with respect.

We have to be willing to engage in meaningful dialogue with peers and teachers, to actually research and learn about the issues instead of jumping to conclusions, and to understand that parodies like the SNL debates don’t replace situations that are challenging our country.

Why should we care about doing all of that? Well, think about this: The last three presidents of the United States served two consecutive terms, and only five have lost reelection in the past century.

In four or eight years, many of us will be in college or beyond, working to establish our lives as adults. Everyone in the Upper School will have graduated and moved off to college. It soon may become time to perhaps buy your first home, get health care, pay for your education, or buy a car. In all of those situations, the person in charge of this country will have a significant role in how all of those landmark events in your life transpire.

The policies established by the President whom our country is about to elect will shape our future. We look at those policies more closely in this issue.

Once you’ve done your part and carefully examined the candidates and their positions, what’s next? Talk about it in your homes with your parents, your relatives, your older siblings —  anyone who will be casting a vote on November 8. Make sure they are choosing someone for a better reason than “I don’t like him” or “I hate her” or “my family raised me to vote like this.”

The future of our country is far too important to approach it with anything less than the truth, unity, and love that are central to our Malvern experience.

 

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