The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
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Don’t make politics personal

If I have learned anything about professors since I have been at SMU, it is that you can learn a great deal about them from the things they keep in their offices.

For instance, many professors expressed their political preference in the past election by putting bumper stickers for their favorite candidate on their doors. But one professor in Umphrey Lee had a rather different sticker.

On the window of his office was a patriotic red, white, and blue sticker promoting “Roslin/Adama” for 2008. For those of you who are too cool for the SciFi channel, this is a reference to “Battlestar Galactica,” and it tells me that this professor has a good sense of humor and great taste in television.

While I was walking on the third floor of the Clements building, I had a similar experience that led me to a very different conclusion about a member of the SMU faculty. Plastered on the door of a foreign language professor was a large sticker labeling its owner a “person against the George W. Bush Library.”

This message, just like the “Roslin/Adama” sticker, says a great deal about this faculty member. It tells me that this person, like so many other people around the country, has allowed politics to become personal and has consequently failed to recognize a simple truth: Republicans and Democrats are not so different.

I know this previous statement flies in the face of everything that we have been taught by our parents, professors, and Jib Jab videos. But in all seriousness, you can see this truth in real application throughout history.

If you hold your hands out to either side, making your upper body a T-shape, you can demonstrate the spectrum of economic policies a given government can adopt. In your right hand, you hold the survival of the fittest economic policies of Augusto Pinochet. In your left hand, you hold the absolute socialism that many have promoted but none have ever truly implemented.

In this analogy of economic policy, the respective platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties are about as far apart as your eyes.

Republicans believe in a degree of health care for those who cannot afford it. Democrats believe in a degree of incentives for the rich. And believe it or not, both parties believe in the power of stimulus programs; they simply disagree on the best way to implement them. The conclusion that we ought to draw is that the two parties have much more in common than people admit, because Americans are a great deal more moderate than they realize.

Many people will likely read this article and feel a sense of hypocrisy. After all, I’ve been writing for The Daily Campus for only a semester and yet I’ve published more criticisms of President Obama than almost any other writer this year.

But my criticisms are of the policies, not the man. In all honesty, if Obama were to arrive on campus for a spontaneous visit tomorrow, I would be eager to meet the man and shake his hand. Why? Because I don’t allow politics to become personal. While I am of a different political persuasion, I realize that Obama is no more a socialist than Bush is a fanatical elitist. Their economics are, in the end, relatively similar.

And so, in light of this realization, the idea that a professor can make such a vehement and open denunciation of the Bush Library is a clear sign of someone who disagrees with the man and has allowed this disagreement to turn him against something that is undeniably good for this university.

The Bush library will bring prestige to this school, give its students the opportunity to meet many members of the administration, as many of them have already met Bush himself, and will give the rather obvious benefit of yet another library on campus.

My criticism of the unproductive protest by this lone professor is that it is motivated by the wrong reasons and flies in the face of what would be one of the biggest things to happen to this school in decades.

I would encourage all followers of politics to realize the following truths:

1.) Republicans and Democrats are not so different that you should hate a member of the other party for simply believing what he/she does.

2.) Because they are not so different, you should not form opinions about a person’s character based on his identification.

Compromise began in this nation with its constitution and the increasing polarization of our generation spells doom for our future cooperation.

Alex Ehmke is a freshman economics, public policy and political science triple major. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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