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Editorial: Establishing an effective discourse establishes a democracy

Throughout the fall semester, despite the inability to meet in-person, the Bradley community and student organizations have compiled a notable push to host events related to this year’s 2020 presidential election.

On Oct. 20, Bradley’s Black Alumni Alliance (BUBAA) in partnership with several other organizations hosted “The Power of the Vote,” a virtual informative session on the significance of an individual’s vote. Bradley’s chapter of the NAACP virtually hosted a speaker who outlined the relevance of college students and the voting system on Oct. 20. The communications department hosted an online forum on the state of the news media and the presidential race.

Student Support Services even hosted an event on Oct. 30 about responding and coping with political fatigue. Whether it was an event about the importance of the vote or how to analyze the events taking place throughout the nation, The Scout wants to applaud the Bradley community for organizing the events.

The Scout would like to encourage more of these events, especially during the congressional elections of 2022. While the events presented this year provided a range of topics, the discussions do not have to simply stop after a president is elected.

The topics don’t have to be limited to voting either. Multiple aspects of our democracy should be explored and a discourse should be ever present on a college campus. Regardless of your viewpoint or political stance, it can be agreed that we live in a marketplace of ideas. To let these ideas fester on social media or online platforms is not productive.

Debating politics publicly may seem taboo in fear of heated exchanges, but if there is a time and place to host a debate over issues between two suitable experts, should it not be on a college campus?

To establish a free and effective discourse on a college campus, however, requires educated stances. During the beginning of the presidential primaries in early 2019, The Scout pushed students to understand political issues at hand. The stance still does not change.

BestColleges.com provides “Student Voting Guides” with easy-to-understand graphics and information regarding political issues and voting related to your state and the country. Education Votes compares the stances of the two major political party candidates side-by-side. And if you really want to deep dive into the candidates’ policies, you can visit either President Donald Trump’s website or opponent Joe Biden’s website.

To be an active member of democracy doesn’t mean you have to staunchly follow politics, read the front page of an online news source every day or stream C-SPAN occasionally. Being an active member of democracy means understanding the changes you want to see thoroughly or making the changes you want to see.

This presidential election and beyond, Bradley and universities around the country can be the place for students to become those members of a democracy, not just this year but every year. It’s time to start fulfilling the potential collaboration of higher education and democracy that this country needs. If a democracy never turns off, then why should a university’s discourse?

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The Scout is published by members of the student body of Bradley University. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the University.