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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Editorial: Political parties aside, let's respect each other

The news of presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., coming to UF has spread across the Swamp. Some are singing his praises, already planning on lining up at 5 a.m. for the opportunity to hear Sanders speak. Others, however, are not responding so kindly.

Right now, we’re looking at you, UF College Republicans. And before we get accused of being just another liberal newspaper, let us explain our grievances.

On Wednesday, we saw a meme circulating that originated from the UF College Republicans’ Facebook page. It reads, “When you find out Bernie Sanders is coming to school to brainwash more of your friends,” and features a creepy cat-like thing that we guess is supposed to look incredulous.

Our issue with this particular image is its assertion that anyone supporting Bernie Sanders is “brainwashed.” We’ll spare you a rant and instead just say this: If you truly believe that anyone who believes differently from you is “brainwashed,” you might need to look in the figurative mirror for a while.

As it turns out, these types of images are quite rampant on the group’s Facebook page. From making fun of Sen. Sanders’ tweets, to a compilation video making fun of Hillary Clinton for barking (don’t think we missed the implications of comparing a female candidate to a dog), to announcing, “The White House is not a retirement home,” we’re overall unimpressed with the maturity level of this particular student organization.

For the sake of unbiased journalism, we also took a look at the UF College Democrats’ Facebook page. There is an obvious lack of personal attacks, and rather a plethora of event promotions and general body meeting announcements. While this page is distinctly less entertaining, it’s a whole lot more respectful and conducive to a welcoming community.

Of course, we at the Alligator realize that differences of opinion are to be expected. Not just expected, in fact, but really appreciated and absolutely necessary in a democratic society such as our own. However, we’ve also seen the effects of a lack of respect for opposing opinions on a national scale. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the size of Donald Trump’s ego for the past few months, you know this election has gotten nasty.

As college students, we have an incredible opportunity to be part of a free-thinking society right here on campus. There are tons of diverse groups to be a part of, including UF College Republicans and UF College Democrats. This expression of thoughts and opinions is vital to an inclusive, diverse college campus.

However, let’s all take a step back and re-examine how we go about expressing those opinions. Ad hominem attacks and immature social media posts are not the way to go about getting a point across. In fact, they really just make the group look immature and, quite frankly, uneducated.

We at the Alligator absolutely love seeing students taking the initiative to educate themselves and especially exercising their right to vote. Contrary to popular belief, we’re cool with you having different political opinions from us. What we’re not cool with is seeing UF groups being rude to other students with different political views. Don’t we see enough of that on a national scale?

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