Partisanship doesn’t help political debates, instead it shows how both sides are equally as bad

In Opinion
Photo by Bailey Carpenter

The far left is just as bad as the far right, and if there ever was proof for this statement, it happened on March 9 at Cal State Fullerton when pro-Trump demonstrators came to provoke students.

The conservative group Americans for Trump reserved a space on Titan Walk and showed up wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and carrying signs with controversial messages. Large groups of students gathered to criticize the demonstrators and loud arguments ensued until police escorted the demonstrators off campus for their safety.

The overall result of this heated exchange, not surprisingly, was nothing. The efforts of the provocateurs and of the students angered by them created nothing of substance and should not be confused with real political discourse.

The demonstrator’s signs brought said things like “Islam is rape culture” and “deport illegals.” They said their presence at CSUF was a reaction to the Feb. 8 altercation between lecturer Eric Canin and members of CSUF College Republicans club during a protest on campus. Canin was subsequently suspended.

The demonstrators on Thursday saw the altercation as being indicative of free-speech restrictions prevalent on this campus and took to CSUF to stir the pot and make an example.

While there is merit in pointing out the free-speech issues that do indeed plague CSUF, this demonstration was a poor attempt.

There are many good ways of showing your support for the right to speak freely, but intentionally provoking people who disagree with you is not one of them. Whatever free-speech message this group came to campus with was laced with condescension and oversimplification.

Conversely, the CSUF students who engaged with these demonstrators did not make the situation any better.

The fact that police had to escort the remaining demonstrators off campus to “ensure their safety,” according to police, should be quite alarming. This means that students were so enraged by hearing opinions they did not agree with, the University Police thought they might become violent.

If the demonstrators’ sole intention was to provoke students, then they succeeded greatly. The CSUF students only proved their point by allowing the arguing to escalate as far as it did.

It’s nice to know CSUF students stand their ground, but a better way to show these demonstrators they weren’t welcome would have been to pay them no mind at all.

From all angles, the events of this incident were bad. What could have been a spirited public debate was nothing more than a mass of incessant yelling.

Certain individuals–students and demonstrators–did actually pose real arguments, bolstered their opinions with facts and engaged in actual debate.

Unfortunately, they had to be drowned out by loud noises going on around them.

Anyone who thinks that their political view is the be-all-end-all view with all the right answers is delusional. Virtually all political issues are complex, nuanced and almost never have a simple answer.

If those on the left and on the right both continue to cling to the notion that their opponent is always wrong, then America is certainly headed for failure.

For those of us who didn’t participate in Thursday’s shouting match, let us take this as one example of the problems of hyper partisanship and meet each other over in the middle.

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