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A divided family

| Friday, February 28, 2014

This week has been difficult one for me when it comes to my personal beliefs and feeling part of the Notre Dame community. It all started this Sunday when I read the Viewpoint articles this week on intolerance and Ann Coulter coming to campus, including the comments on them. Then, in class Monday morning, my professor posed the simple question to the class of who was in favor of raising the minimum wage, and I was the only one in the class to raise my hand. I came out of both these events aware of the divide that seemed to exist between my classmates and me, and I began to question for the first time my place at this University that I have cared about so deeply.

However, the issue that truly compounded all of these feelings came when my roommate and I argued over climate change and whether atheists could act morally or not (I feel like only at Notre Dame such a wide variety of topics are discussed, but I digress). Anyways, when the debate turned quite contentious for both of us, we could not even stand to be in the same room with each other, and I found myself livid in another friend’s room, spouting any curse word of which I could think.

What came next revealed a lot to me. Our mutual friend expressed worry over these issues coming between my roommate and me. I stated that I was used to these types of arguments, coming from a big family, and he replied, “you will always love family, and he isn’t a part of your family.”

The more I thought about this statement the more it became clear; yes, I will always love my roommate because he is like family to me.

I am all in favor of rational discourse that involves conflicting opinions, and I believe it is even necessary to foster a great community. However, one of the things we pride ourselves on here is that we are all part of the Notre Dame Family.  Maybe I am naïve enough to believe this family actually exists, but if it does, it appears to me that we are allowing partisan lines to divide it and letting ourselves be filled with animosity towards each other instead of love. This causes us to undermine the community as a whole (and Exhibit A would be Congress).

As my story shows, I am definitely part of the problem, but I know it is something on which we could all improve. Just today, when I asked my friend in College Republicans what he made of the controversy involving Ann Coulter, he told me that they were enjoying the outrage that it was causing on campus. So, maybe instead of this competition to see which side is more “tolerant,” we can start working towards being a true Notre Dame Family. “Remember, Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”

John King
Fisher Hall
Feb. 28


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