I am a 17 year old who is writing this letter due to concern about the political division in our country and the effects it will have in our shared community. We may be removed in location, but we are still affected by the division that is happening in the Lower 48. Due to the candidates this year, there is more tension than we could have ever anticipated. We,as a community, seem to have forgotten basic respect and human rights.
One of the main issues that I see is the candidates we are looking to have forgotten what respect means themselves. They both are name-calling each other and pointing out the smallest flaws, just like bullies do to other kids on a playground. If we saw this happening in a school we would want to take action. We do this partially to protect the victim, but also to ensure that other children do not mimic this behavior. It’s hurtful and can be dangerous to everyone’s wellbeing. However, we unfortunately cannot establish new candidates in the place of these two bullies. So if we cannot remove them, our job in this community is to make sure we do not mimic this dishonorable behavior.
But how do we not repeat this behavior? Well first we must understand exactly how these behaviors were created and are being exhibited. If we look at our candidates, we can easily see that they have intruded on each other’s human rights. In doing so they have set an example for us to follow. They have viewed each other as purely opposition, and are treating each other as the enemy, and in suit we have followed. Our partisan lines have been drawn deeply, allowing for very little opposition and reasoning. If you are not completely for all of one’s policies you are against them. This creates an all or nothing standpoint in relationships as well. If you do not agree with the other person, you are cut off in that relationship. Each of us have a unique viewpoint, and to expect everyone to agree with you is unrealistic. Through these expectations we are not only socially distant, but now we are emotionally distant as well.
We also see that even though they are opposing candidates, they fail to acknowledge that they are both trying to help America succeed in their own way. By refusing to understand each other’s intentions they have created a deep void within the parties in America. We have started to view each other as full of evil intentions and spite. We have started searching for injustice in another’s views to prove that they are wrong. In doing so, all of us have become evil in each other’s eyes. We cannot imagine that someone can contain a view opposing ours without having evil intentions. But we must come to the understanding that we all want what’s best, just our methods of getting there vary. We must learn to empathize with each other, and we must understand and respect that we each possess a different perspective cultivated by our own past. Very few want harm to come to our country. We must start to try to understand where another person’s political views are coming from.
• Lilli Reynolds is a Juneau resident.