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viewpoint

Time to start fixing

| Monday, September 28, 2015

To say I’m excited for 2016 and the prospect of a new campaign season is an understatement. Since the morning of Nov. 5th, 2014, I have impatiently been counting down the days until someone announced their candidacy. I was looking for something to replace the unique buzz created by campaign season, the kind of buzz that drives people to spend 15-hour days at campaign headquarters at the suddenly possible chance of achieving greatness. There is nothing quite like the energy of an election cycle.

This year is going to be different. As a nation, we have a whole grocery list of problems, but optimistically, there is a field of candidates with actionable solutions.

Great. Now what?

Maybe it’s because I can literally recite Governor Rauner’s stump speech or because I’ve been secretly writing mine since second grade, but I am so tired of hearing the “here’s why I’m running” speech. I don’t think I’m alone.

Personally, I don’t care why you’re running. I want to know how you’re going to fix all the issues this country faces. Between ISIS, a growing income disparity and immigration issues, there is no shortage of problems in need of a solution — the question is, will our candidates provide these solutions? If they don’t, I think we deserve more.

As much as I appreciate the political finesse demonstrated by the Clintons, if Hillary’s plan to fix the broken economy is filled with buzzwords and empty phrases, I can’t respect her candidacy. As an electorate, we’ve become too comfortable with hollow speeches and spineless plans. The 24-hour news cycle has encouraged this complacency by not asking tough questions or expecting actual answers, instead being satisfied for inconsequential “binders full of women”-like comments. This election season; let’s ask for more of our candidates and our news. Let’s get actual answers, actual plans and actual solutions.

Perhaps the biggest opportunity for failure falls in the current state of political discourse in this country — not to mention at this school.

I met a now-graduated, then-senior last year on the campaign, and right before school started I asked him about how to get involved in politics at Notre Dame. He laughed. Then he launched into a mini-manifesto on how polarized the political community is here at school, how no one wants to actually to talk about the issues.

It’s great if you like hearing your views supported by people that are exactly like you. Not so great if you want to have a dialogue.

Fundamentally, this demonstrates the problem with our country, so few are willing to actually have a conversation and solve problems. We’re so entrenched in our own beliefs that we forget about what actually matters.

None of what happens in 2016 will matter if the winners can’t compromise with the losers. It’s time that we stop accepting this as normal and start talking, and more importantly, start fixing.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Rachel O'Grady

Rachel O'Grady is a senior Political Science major living in Ryan Hall and is currently serving as an Assistant Managing Editor. Hailing from Chicago (actual Chicago, not the suburbs) she's been a Cubs fan since birth.

Contact Rachel