Political neutrality: The good, the bad, and the evil

Can someone be neutral in a nation as divided as the United States?

Not only are we divided by political issues, but human rights issues have also been made political in these past few years. Every person deserves equal rights, so being neutral during these times can be a dangerous position. Whether this deals with racism, sexism, homophobia or any other form of prejudice, it’s never permissible to stay silent.

Neutrality during times of violence or not standing up for the victim is the same as siding with the oppressor. As Joseph Erikson wrote in an article for Medium.com, “The American ethos of ‘thoughts and prayers’ and ‘don’t rock the boat’ in the face of historic suffering isn’t going to help anyone; historically and practically speaking, magical or naive thinking perpetuates harm.”

University students had their own perspectives when asked why they don’t like politics. The common answer was that the discussions often make them angry.

Jordan Kelly, a criminal justice freshman, said “Everything about it. When it gets brought up it can immediately kill the vibe.” The nation is so divided that it can be hard to find your place, to have a conversation about politics that doesn’t result in a fight.

However, university alumni Donovan Boynton, who earned a bachelors in criminal justice acknowledged this issue by saying, “Every time someone opts out of a political conversation, for every time a voter decides not to research a given subject, they surrender their voices to a louder majority… If you don’t speak up, someone is going to speak for you.”

These tough conversations matter and so do the tough stances we have to take as citizens of this nation.

In the end, being neutral won’t solve any of these issues. It can be hard to step up but by not stepping up, we can’t solve the climate crisis, poverty, school shootings or even the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

As Ian Sacci, a sophomore majoring in sports management, said, “Whether it’s political opinions, or opinions that are made political that shouldn’t be, people’s lives are impacted based on your opinion. In short, having no opinion or being neutral is just as bad as telling someone to their face that they don’t matter. Yes, you can be neutral about someone’s music or films, but when lives are on the line, having a strong opinion matters.”