The end of intellectBy Sehar Ezez | 04/07/2016 8:07am
Ninety-five percent of my friends are conservative, white, Baptist Christians, who according to the media and the politicians who frequent the media, must mean that they have to hate me, a fairly liberal, Pakistani Muslim. On the contrary, I thank God every day for putting these people in my life, who have stuck by me through thick and thin. I am saddened to step onto campus and see such hate on a daily basis. I am saddened to turn on the news and see the media work hard to cement the divides this nation has imposed on itself. I am saddened even more at the thought that by the time my children would be old enough to go to school, the divides of our nation will be so strong that they won’t have the ability to make the friends I’ve made.
Because of their myriad and conflicting interests, we cannot always assume that our politicians have everyone's best interests at heart. However, we can at least assume for the sake of dialogue that our neighbors, our friends, and our classmates have the best intentions toward their fellow man, even if those intentions manifest themselves in different policy prescriptions. Only with these assumptions can we have measured, productive conversations in society.
Whether you’re a conservative or liberal, you are above all an adult and a college student. I would hope that if you’ve made it this far in life, you at least have some sort of functioning communication skill. We are so lucky to live in a nation where we can vote, express our disapproval for the system openly, and oppose the system through multiple ways. There are nations where people fight for their lives, walk miles and miles to polling booths, and even get assassinated for voting. There are nations, with appalling poverty levels and human rights violations, where voter turnout is 75 percent or higher. Yet here in America, voter turnout among the younger generations is downright pathetic.
We have problems in this nation. But what players on both sides of the field neglect to tell you is that these issues are self-made. We have the power to turn these issues around. This nation has the reputation for being the land of opportunity for a reason. Like many other immigrants, my father came to this nation with nothing in his pocket, and today he is a proud multiple-business owner with his first child ready to graduate college. This doesn’t happen in a lot of other countries. But rather than fight to get rid of flaws in our system that prohibit progress, we have allowed two monster groups, Democrats and Republicans, to decide for us which binary we should fit in. We have allowed ourselves to be dumbed down as a population to believing that those who don’t conform to our individual ideologies are our enemies.
America will not be great again by us arguing and belittling our peers. America will overcome its challenges when we as a nation learn once and for all to stand together, treat our fellow citizens as equals and learn to compromise. It will change when we remind ourselves that the government is here to serve us, and hearing and abiding by our demands is their job, not an act of charity. We will only overcome our issues when we realize that we as a nation deserve more than to be divided by politicians, and that this nation is our nation, paid for by our tax dollars, maintained by our efforts and sustained for our children. It’s time to take an honest look at ourselves.
Sehar Ezez is a senior majoring in history. Her column runs biweekly.