Remember that Democrats-and-Republicans-holding-hands thing that was pretty popular after Sept. 11, 2001? I don’t see that happening much anymore.

I know it was three long years ago, but back then, “United We Stand” was pretty darn popular, and it seemed like everyone had a flag hanging from their dorm windows, stuck on their backpacks, tattooed on their arms and who knows where else.

Nowadays, it’s more common to see “Bush is a dummy,”Kerry is a flip flop,” and “My presidential candidate can beat up your presidential candidate.” So much for standing united.

Maybe I’m generalizing a bit much. I’m sure there are Bush supporters and Kerry supporters who can cross paths without erupting into snarls and growls, but it’s become trendier than flipped-up collars to make personal, insulting attacks on other political parties and their candidates.

Didn’t we learn somewhere on the road to our great education that ad hominem is a bad thing?

The weekly debates thrown by the political organizations on campus are a step in the right direction, and it’s not like fights are breaking out daily in Red Square. But, seriously folks, all this divisive language has to stop. I see it in opinion pieces, in away messages, in flyers and banners. And it’s starting to get annoying.

Don’t get me wrong. Political expression is our right, and we’d best use it. Be passionate about your vote. Be passionate about your political opinions. By all means, be passionate, for we all know that every vote counts in this close election. But there’s a difference between passion and, well, immaturity.

So I come bearing good news. We as the politically-minded Georgetown community still have time to stand united before Election Day rolls around.

I know many, many, many people who are able to maintain a friendship with someone who’s voting for the other guy. Sure, they disagree. Sure, they debate. Sometimes they get offended. But no, they don’t revert to generalizing and divisive language. It’s easy, really, and I’ll show you how.

First off, get to know your local Republican/Democrat/Other. Instead of shouting “baby killer” or what-have-you before scurrying off, try shaking their hand. Introduce yourself. Talk about something other than politics for a little while. Maybe sports, maybe fashion, maybe deontological ethical theory. Anything but politics, please, and for good measure, try not to talk about religion, either.

Second, let’s put all the campus political organizations in the same office. They’re already on the same floor, but that’s not quite enough.

Stick them in the same room and have them share the same resources, like desks, staplers, chairs and the Internet. I’ll venture to guess that we’ll need a heavier DPS presence in Leavey for a few weeks, but, like angry freshmen roommates, things will tide over eventually.

And finally, let’s focus on the issues, not the insults. I’m looking at us, especially, the fledgling leaders of the United States of America, for our words can and do reach the public arena.

If we’ve hardly left high school and still have to revert to gross generalizations, personal attacks and bitter rhetoric, I fear for the future of our nation. Reasoned debate ought to be the norm, not some nostalgic pastime.

So let’s remember the whole “United We Stand” thing. Reach out to your local hippie and gun nut and hold hands. Sing “Kumbaya” together, split a Snickers bar. And then when you’re done, you might realize that – my God! – they’re actually human.

Hopefully afterward you can get a good debate going on and still have time to play ultimate on the lawn. Just make sure the Frisbee doesn’t have any partisan logos on it.

A. Carlos Mina is a senior in the School of Foreign Service.

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