Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
We Swatties like to think that we’re involved. We’d hardly call ourselves apolitical, and we pretty much know who most of us are rooting for this presidential election. We like to pat ourselves on the back for our snarky real-time Facebook commentary, our rallying together of supporters, for our door-knocking and phone-calling. Swarthmore certainly does not want for strong opinions, as our columnists Sam Sussman ‘13, Danielle Charette ‘14, and Will Lawrence ‘13 more than remind us.
However, opinions that dissent from the majority are often met with derision. Here at Swarthmore there is an underlying assumption that about certain issues, social and political, we are in agreement. Or if not in agreement, we’re all on the more liberal end of things. No one would argue that Swarthmore is a nurturing environment for young Republicans.
But Swarthmore’s also not the “Kremlin on the Crum.” We are a community with varied and nuanced positions on a wide range of political and social issues. Here at The Daily Gazette, we often hear from this community anonymously. And though we won’t be changing our comment policy any time soon, we’d like to invite you to step out from behind your computer screens and join us face to face at The Daily Gazette’s Columnist Debate.
When Danielle and Sam first proposed it, we knew watching them duke it out live could gather a crowd. But we wanted more than a spectacle. A two-sided debate would be just as limiting and disappointing in SCI 101 as it is on a national level. It would hardly be a representation of the student body’s political opinions. That’s when we asked Will Lawrence ‘13 to add a more radical voice into the mix.
For this debate we bring together three students who, despite their political discord, somehow managed to agree on a time and location to debate the fiscal, foreign, and social issues of Election 2012. And we want you to participate, to come hear what they have to say, and then question them during the Town Hall portion of the evening.
Let’s look beyond the next sound-bite meme turned “clever” Halloween costume. Our debators will not be parroting either President Barack Obama or Candidate Mitt Romney, but rather giving us their take on the most pressing issues. Let’s use this debate as a catalyst to shake up the Swarthmore status quo. We need to look beyond our group meetings and our friend groups, and create a space for respectful but heated debate based in the differences of opinion within our community. As a start, come to the first all-campus event to bring in-conversation a Mountain Justice Activist and Wall Street Journal fellow.
We’re putting ourselves out there, so leave the comment thread behind and come ask those pressing questions tomorrow at 8 p.m. in SCI 101.
See you there,
Max Nesterak ’13 and Monika Zaleska ’13
Co-Editors in Chief
p.s. Whatever your opinions/comments/Halloween costume, The Daily Gazette wants you to get out there and VOTE.