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viewpoint

The need for a conversation

| Tuesday, October 23, 2018

In his farewell address, George Washington warned the nation about “the baneful effects of the spirit of party.” Today, these “baneful effects” are seen in our nation’s extreme political polarization. The number of Americans that are uniformly liberal or conservative in their views has doubled over the past two decades. And as both parties have moved to the extremes, there is less overlap between moderates, creating two warring camps who lack intermediaries to bridge the divide and facilitate compromise. The number of Democrats and Republicans who have a highly negative view of the opposing party has more than doubled since 1994. And nearly 27 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans now see the opposing party as a “threat to the nation’s well-being.”

We are simply not talking to each other. Nearly 35 percent of those on the left and 50 percent on the right say “it is important to them to live in a place where most people share their political views.” But, we must not allow ourselves to be partitioned into ideological silos. Both sides, right and left, share a love for country and must work together to combat the pressing problems of our nation. It is vital that we open ourselves to different points of view and establish a healthy political dialogue.

To initiate conversation, Civic Duty South Bend, Notre Dame Student Government, NDVotes, BridgeND, College Republicans, College Democrats and Young Americans for Freedom are launching Converge. Participants will be matched with a fellow student of differing political views. We hope that people will find common ground, make meaningful relationships and discover new ideas.

To take part, sign up and fill out the survey here by Tuesday, October 23rd at 11:59 p.m. We will be hosting a Converge at ND Kick-Off Event in room W246 of Duncan Student Center on Thursday, October 25th from 5 – 6 p.m. At the event, pairs will be announced, food will be provided and a model Converge conversation will take place between the presidents of College Republicans and College Democrats.

Let us be the generation that overcomes polarization.

Civic Duty South Bend

Steven Higgins

junior

Alex Yom

junior

Oct. 21

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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