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Sunday, April 21, 2024

If there’s anything we have learned from the past few days, it’s that when there’s a hot-button issue on campus, boy oh boy do people get contentious about it. But what’s funny is what we consider a hot-button issue. Nazi on campus? Racial slurs and vandalism of UF buildings? A one-party monopolization of Student Government elections? The occasional defensive comments on a column or editorial, one or two letters to the editor, but nothing close to what we’ve been seeing.

In the past few days, our campus — much like our nation — is split. Those who oppose Greek life, the “System,” or Impact Party had all their reasons for opposition realized and rallied against Smith Meyers, who now serves as a figurehead for all the other side opposes. Those who stand for Smith Meyers — who wear their Impact shirts and letters with pride — are quick to defend him.

It’s a division that’s felt a lot of the time, though we do our best to play it off as nothing serious. But given a reason, the people will rally. If you’ve taken a gander at Facebook comments in the past week or so, and compare it to the comments from other weeks, the amount and the bitterness for this particular topic is noticeably greater.

We’ve made it clear where we fall on this topic Monday. Some of our columnists agree; some have said otherwise. Some of our readers agree; some have said otherwise. We’ve had more submissions of opinions on Smith Meyers than we can count. Some people denounce him. Some people defend him. Some people denounce him, but conditionally. Some people defend him, but conditionally. We’re not going to argue one way or another right now; we did that earlier.

We’re going to take a step back and ask: why?

Why has this — out of all the issues we’ve encountered this semester — been the one to cause the most ruckus?

For people against Impact, they see concrete, indisputable evidence of all the things they’ve claimed Impact and its lackeys to be. To them, the lack of response from SG, the lack of response from the university, the humiliation of national media organizations highlighting the story and looking down on our school,culminate to form what is, in their minds, the perfect argument.

Look at the corruption, they cry. Look at the lack of professionalism. We must stop them! We’ve tried for so long and finally there’s a reason, but no one is listening.

For the people backing Meyers, they see this outrage as the other side latching onto one slip up, determined to topple them. And they have dominated this playground for so long, they are not about to let one mistake ruin them.

They are fighting back just as viciously — storming protests with counter protests, participating in those intense comment wars, making sure that people know they aren’t going to admit weakness.

People love to choose sides.

People love to be part of a team.

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Though we don’t like to admit it, people are bound by mutual hatred of things — and the more specific the subject of our hatred is, the more united we are.

To this, dear reader, we remind you that a Student Body divided will never be a strong one. It’s in our nature to cry for justice, to defend those we stand for, but we cannot swear off half the Student Body for disagreeing with us.

Do we have a clear-cut solution to this? No (and if anyone did, we’d be asking them to use it on our country). But it is something important to keep in mind as we march on.

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