To the editor:
With the upcoming election we have a chance to hear all sides of the political spectrum's ideologies. We have the ability not only to hear these ideologies but to decide for ourselves what we agree or disagree with. In these days of cut-throat politics we often forget how lucky we are to be able to not only have our own ideologies but that we have the freedom to openly voice these ideologies.
During my years at Indiana University of Pennsylvania as a political science undergraduate, I had the privilege of being part of some of the greatest political debates between citizens, especially during the 2008 presidential election. We had the opportunity to voice our political views and debate the views that we disagreed with. I was one of the few Republican students in my department and I took great joy in not only debating my views but also listening to the views of those who did not see my way. I found a great sense of pride that I live in a country that allowed me to voice my opinions and hear the opinions of those who disagreed with me.
I remember vividly a student in one of my classes that grew up in Iran and immigrated with his family to the United States when he was 15. He rarely spoke in class when it came to political and personal debates. One day after class he and I were casually talking with the professor and I asked him out of curiosity why he stayed silent during debates whenever he was asked if he had an opinion. His response is something that will always stick with me. He simply said "Where I am from, speaking your personal opinions could land you in prison or worse. I've only been in this country a few years and I am not yet used to the freedom of speaking my mind."
With the upcoming election we are going to hear numerous debates between the candidates and the citizens of the United States. Undoubtedly these debates will become heated but we must not forget that we have the freedom to have these debates openly and without the fear of persecution for them. Not only should we not forget this freedom but we also must respect the views of those who disagree with us. Although I am a Republican and I am fairly set in my ways I always try to remember to respect the views of others that are not Republican and listen intently to their views.
The only way you can make an educated decision in November is to know not only your party's platform but the platform of your opposition as well.
We live in the greatest country in the world. We have the right to vote and the ability to make our own decisions when it comes to ideologies. Debate your ideologies, stand up for them but respect the ideologies of others. Listen to them, know them and be enlightened. In this election, let us not forget the freedoms we have in voicing our opinions and political beliefs as well as respecting the opinions and political beliefs of those who you disagree with.