I don’t know who I am —- at all. But I know what I believe.
I am a liberal.
I believe in a world where all have room to fail and are able to better their lives, through a combination of hard work and understanding of their struggles. Before I came to this university, I thought that only people on my side of the spectrum cared about other people this way. Coming from a non-Jesuit Catholic high school, I was used to conservatives being exclusively far right.
Some of my best friends from high school are conservatives, but until I came to Georgetown, I still didn’t trust their beliefs.
I began to have faith in the other side when I met people here who identified as neoconservatives. I was very surprised that many shared my views on issues like criminal justice reform, the war on drugs, same-sex marriage, and race relations. I was surprised to find I agreed with staunch conservatives.
In the course of a few months, I started to realize that liberals and conservatives have distinct ways of communicating, with liberals focused on reform and conservatives focused on preserving principles.
For example, few congressional Republican members publicly acknowledge human-made climate change because GOP politicians have trouble selling climate change regulation to their constituents.
This holds true with my friends who are conservative. Virtually all of them acknowledge climate change.
Most are for carbon capture but not the other policies because they claim they threaten carbon-producing industries. Liberals believe in cap-and-trade and carbon tax but also subsidize companies pioneering new forms of energy, like Tesla, because they can succeed economically.
We see climate change as a problem, but disagree on solving it. Does it matter more that we disagree on how to solve a problem, or that we acknowledge it’s a problem and can come up with new solutions to solve it? Most people here want to find viable compromise.
Even so, there is tension between each of the political groups on campus that most can feel without being directly involved.
Both sides ignore one another’s opinions at times. Dialogue unfortunately becomes lost amid the name calling. We forget that people are more willing to listen to us if we’re willing to listen to them.
No Labels is a national organization that has over 100 members of Congress from both the Democratic and Republican parties.
It is dedicated to bridging the divide between the two parties by building trust between them and recommending specific policy proposals. What makes it different from other bipartisan organizations is that people in the government are signing on.
No Labels is expanding to college campuses, so my friend Max Rosner (SFS ‘18) and I decided to start a chapter at Georgetown.
This isn’t going to be a movement that sets against other political clubs on campus.
We need all of them to come on board so that we can make compromise easier and tone down rhetoric in 2016. After all, liberalism and conservatism are just manifestations of each side’s fears.
Conservatives steadfastly refuse to give government so much power that people lose their freedoms, whereas liberals don’t want societal elites having so much power that people lose their freedoms.
In an unoffical Facebook, poll we found that 58 percent of people have friends of mostly one political ideology. But, at the same time, 63 percent of respondents said that when they had political discussions with people, they either wanted to learn why someone held his beliefs or to compare the strength of their beliefs with others. There is room for more debate and trust-building.
I’m not about to go vote for Ted Cruz or Mike Huckabee in a primary. However, I’m paying greater attention to the beliefs of Rand Paul and Jeb Bush. Aside from Clinton, Paul and Bush offer the greatest chance of stability.
Sure, we’ll always have the debate about taxes and regulations, but we can solve problems without compromising our principles.
We need to start looking at politically engaged individuals as people, not as Democrats or Republicans.
Let’s talk more about energy security, job creation, renewing social security and Medicare, and balancing the budget.
No more labels. Just more progress.
Musa Bassey is a freshman in the College. This is final appearance of The Undergraduate Almanac.
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