The importance of respect this election year

Helen Rogalski, Managing Editor

It’s an election year, which means that now more than ever, people of opposing views will come face to face in the polls, on TV and all around us.

Everyone on campus seems to have a different opinion. From the Bernie 2016 chalk outside of Fisher Student Center to the Trump signs on South College Road, people’s views are present.

One of the great things about America is our constitutionally given freedom of speech. While I know there will always be people who disagree with me, I have never been afraid of vocalizing my views. In addition, I had never felt as though people were trying to silence them, until now.

After a relaxing spring break, I drove back onto campus with my newly applied Bernie Sanders 2016 bumper sticker on my car. Two days later, on election day nonetheless, I went back to my car to find that someone had ripped this sticker off. None of my friends were surprised.

I couldn’t care less about the sticker, what bothers me is the actions behind it. There was nothing offensive about it. There was no “Dump Trump” or “Cruz on out of here” being displayed. I was vocalizing my personal preference of who I voted for in the recent primaries. That should not be upsetting anyone.

These types of actions seem to be prevalent this election year. Multiple videos posted on different social media accounts are of people setting fire to campaign signs and taking them down. These actions are counterproductive no matter who they are against.

Everyone has their own opinions. People disagree. In this world, it would be very hard to stay around people who are all the exact same. And, who would want to? Throughout my life, I have learned the most from people who are different than me.

It does not do anyone justice to try to limit their voices before even hearing them. We are young and educated people, and deserve to share our opinions and beliefs.

The topic of political affiliation is a tricky one because of the stereotypes that go along with each one. Any democrat can automatically be labeled as a liberal and the same goes for a republican being labeled as a conservative. Whether we inherited our views from our parents or found them ourselves, we need to collectively change our ways.

No matter how anyone feels in regards to politics, it is not okay to deface or steal the campaign products that we disagree with. It is not okay to talk down to people whose opinions differ from our own. It is not okay to make assumptions about people based on their political affiliation.

In order for the Wilmington community and the country as a whole to move forward, we must set aside our differences and place respect for one another as a higher priority. Ultimately, we all want the same thing: a better America. What changes should be implemented to do this is where disagreements arise.

So, as we move on through the primaries and onto the general election, let us remember this: even people you disagree with deserve respect. In order to grow as college students, we must be willing to listen to opposing views. We must be open to ideas other than our own. The fact that we are different makes us special. And, having an open mind to other ideas allows for an outcome more beneficial and pleasing to a wide variety of people.