Narrowly Open-Minded

Guest ‘Riter Trisha Roy gives her take on the election outcome

Shaker Heights, Ohio, one of the most liberal cities in the Buckeye state, located near the city of Cleveland and ranked the 24th most liberal city in the United States of America.

Shaker Heights City School District. A bearer of the district-wide title, “International Baccalaureate,” and a community that prides itself on being open-minded. However, in light of community events following the election, I have struggled to come to terms with this claim.

Before Election Day, I listened to my peers talk about their unhappiness with the Republican nominee for generalizing groups of people. Agreeing with them, I silently thanked my parents for bringing me up in such a like-minded community. I had no clue that, following the election, these views would quickly turn into opinions inspired by stereotypes such as, “All Republicans are bad,” and, “Anyone who voted for the current president-elect is a sexist, xenophobic, racist bigot.” This confused me. In my mind, Shaker Heights was home to people who were able to distinguish that individual people are held accountable for their actions–the entire group is not at fault.

Though I am not a fan of the president-elect, nor of the ideals and party he stands for, I am a strong believer in equality. Equality encompasses everyone, those with the same opinions, and opinions that may differ. I realized that we as a large majority of the student body were no longer able to combat opinions that contradict our own. Instead, we made sweeping statements, epitomizing hypocrisy. We exemplified the actions which were the very reason we disliked other viewpoints. Though we may be open-minded, we are only so when put into situations that are agreeable to us. However, this is not open-mindedness.

Watching all of this unfold, being trapped in my thoughts, I struggled to think of solutions. It is my belief that the only way we can become better equipped to deal with views that we do not particularly agree with is to listen. Whether you are Democrat, Republican, a Green Party member, associated with another party or not politically affiliated at all, listen. By listening to opinions that differ from our own, we become more educated on what concerns, excites, helps or harms other people. By listening, we become more aware across the board, and are then able to address issues without the use of generalizations. We will combat ideas that we disagree with, through intelligence and facts, rather than sheer opinion and blanket statements. As a student body, district and community, we need to start embodying the definition of liberal–being open to new behavior or opinions–instead of only focusing on the liberal side of politics.

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