Interaction vital for campus political groups

By By Whitney Fitts and By Whitney Fitts

By Whitney Fitts

In May, the GOP decided to rename the Democratic Party as the Democratic Socialist Party. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said this might be a bad plan.

I’m glad someone thinks so.

It was a bit disappointing to see the people elected as our government officials resorting to such childish and catty tactics as name-calling. Just as it has been disappointing to see the two parties take jabs at each other about health care reform, or the slanderous exchange of words between David Letterman and Sarah Palin.

Am I wrong to expect a certain degree of maturity and professionalism from our elected officials? Is it wrong to expect certain qualities such as the ability to maturely and respectfully interact with people’s differing opinions? By the time these officials have made it into their positions, they should have already developed these basic skills of interacting with other people.

This made me curious as to how our own U politics compare in maturity (or lack thereof) to politics on the national scale. I didn’t find much name-calling. In fact, I didn’t find much of anything. It seems that rather than risk not getting along, our campus political groups choose simply not to interact with each other all that often.

That poses a question: Is not working together better or worse than raging war with each other?

College Democrats President Chase Clyde said he remembers an open-mic session last year put on by the Associated Students of the University of Utah where both Republicans and Democrats were represented, but can’t recall the last time the two worked to put on an event.

Drew Conrad, president of the U’s College Republicans, said there isn’t much difference between national and U politics, noting that both are unwilling to compromise and see the other’s side.

There is a difference between the U’s cold war and the national war of words. But in the end, it might all mean the same thing. By not working together, whether it be confrontational or not, partisan politics handicaps both themselves and their causes.

By not working with each other, the U’s Republicans and Democrats deprive students of chances to learn about the two parties and the issues facing them as students. The parties deprive themselves of the chance to gather support and activity for their organizations. They sacrifice student involvement.

Just as the national political parties hold a responsibility to inform and work in the best interest of the American public, Republicans and Democrats at the U hold the responsibility of creating a political environment in which students can learn and become involved with the issues facing them.

That means interaction!

It’s time for both national and U political officials to start fulfilling their roles as politicians. This will take some reform and a willingness to understand each other. Both Clyde and Conrad agree.

“If we can both see from each other’s point of view, that will help ease animosity,” Conrad said.

Clyde said, “I think there are plenty of opportunities for the Republicans and Democrats to hold service projects, debates and forums together and I would like to see more this coming year.”

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