In Light of Recent Events, People Must Listen in Order to Understand

Grace Runkel | The PHOENIX

There’s been a lot of talk during the past week about the Nov. 9 election results.

People have shouted their opinions in the streets and posted their reactions on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. There certainly was not a lot of listening.

Since the election, there’s been one Winston Churchill quote circulating: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

But there’s another Churchill quote just as relevant post-election: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

When we don’t listen, we rely on assumptions as the architecture of our beliefs. It’s easier to pretend you already know something than it is to take the time to learn about it, but this pretending is also much more damaging.

Right now, many Democrats assume they know a lot about Republicans: that they are sexist, racist and homophobic. Similarly, many Republicans assume they know all there is to know about Democrats: that they’re sore losers, lazy and entitled.

Some individuals have engaged in a dialogue — if you can even call it that — in online comments and forums.

But how many people, since the election, have taken the time to sit down with someone whose beliefs differ from their own? And were those conversations motivated by a desire to understand or an eagerness to judge?

Before Nov. 8, our country was divided. People talked at each other — not with each other. Opinions were stated as facts, and if someone disagreed, that person was wrong — not different.

Such thinking widened the rifts in an already-divided country and it has continued to tear it apart since President-elect Donald J. Trump’s acceptance speech.

So, let’s try something different.

Let’s listen to each other and actually try to understand each other’s views. Think that’s impossible? Think again.

Look at two Loyola organizations: College Republicans and College Democrats. While the rest of the country’s Republicans and Democrats segregated themselves into their own like-minded groups, these Loyola students came together and began co-planning an event to take place
later this month. There, they plan to engage in dialogue about the problems currently facing our country.

Let these student groups be an example for all of us.

When we are hurt or excited, it’s easy to gravitate toward people feeling the same way we do. That like-mindedness might be comforting at first, but it’s not productive. Compromises and progress can only be achieved when both parties come to the table.

We all must join together, all strong-willed opinions set aside, and listen to what one another has to say.

Together, we must move forward and sensibly come to terms with the issues our country faces. President-elect Trump was chosen to serve as our next president, and that will not change.

As you step away from this editorial and prepare to interact with those who may have opinions that differ from your own, remember to listen first, understand and then, to reply.

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