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ISSUE 118 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/8/2004

Civil debate between parties: Republicans, Democrats encouraged to have respectful discussion

By Laura Barnard
Contributing Writer
and Jennifer Tulman
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 8, 2004

As the frenzy of political debate sweeps across our campus and state, we are disheartened and outraged to see people turning to vandalism and mudslinging to make their voices heard, instead of using the medium of informed, respectful debate.

On our campus this year, both the College Republicans and the College Democrats have been working hard to inform and excite the student body about issues both groups are passionately concerned about.

These efforts have included late-night planning and campaigning, chalking, making posters and signs, tabling, inviting speakers, a great deal of discussion and more.

When individuals tear down signs or vandalize them, either for personal satisfaction or in an attempt to help their favorite candidate, they fail to realize that they are hurting more than helping.

The information both sides present is meant to spark debates. It is intended to get people discussing, arguing, and most importantly investigating and reconsidering their own beliefs.

However, it isnt meant to inspire intolerance, malicious attacks or disgust towards either party.

This year, the presidential campaign is stretching longer than ever before and it is easy to become apathetic towards the whole process. It is far easier to degrade both candidates, to declare that my vote doesnt matter and that Im sick of hearing the same political arguments over and over than it is to become involved and aware.

Even though our lives are full of too many extra-curricular activities, more reading than we could possibly get through for classes and also dealing with professors, we urge you to make room in your busy schedules to become knowledgeable enough so that you can feel confident in your vote.

This nation was founded on the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of choice. Today, we are lucky enough to be living in America, where we can elect leaders whom we believe will represent us and pursue the causes we feel passionately about. There are still many people around the world who would die for this opportunity.

Because we believe everyone should exercise these rights, we would rather have you vote on Nov. 2 as an informed voter supporting the other guy than ignore the political scene altogether or make decisions based solely on disrespectful media mudslinging.

Regardless of who your choice will be on Election Day, remember that your ideological opposites vote is their choice, just as your vote is your choice.

We are excited to see so many fellow students involved in making a difference in this election and ultimately this nation.

Minnesota is the third-most contested state in the nation, right behind Florida and Ohio, so every persons vote will truly matter this year.

We want your voices to be heard; we want students to turn out in record-breaking numbers at the polls.

No longer do we want to hear about college students political apathy.

But above all, we want to see students respecting each others opinions while continuing to challenge and inspect their own convictions.

So next time you see a sign want to deface it, put up your own sign, or listen to what the other side has to offer.

See why they put up their sign in the first place and then either agree to disagree or be open to the possibility that they just might be right.

Contributing writers Laura Barnard and Jennifer Tulman are both sophomores. Barnard is from Sussex, Wis., and majors in English, psychology and religion. Tulman is from Chippewa Falls, Wis., and majors in English and American studies, with a concentration in environmental studies. Barnard is the PR director for the College Republicans. Tulman is the social secretary for the College Democrats.

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