Issues of the Day: Beyond Politics
Because of the elections, our interests have been stirred on some of the “issues of the day.” Though the races for individual offices are over, many basic concerns still remain on issues such as health care, the job market, and many others. Some of these issues are of particular importance to Otterbein, so we wanted to see what some of our Otterbein insiders had to say about these issues of the day.
We have identified four issues which we see as being of particular concern to the Otterbein community and especially to our students: college affordability, the job market, health care, and undocumented students. All of these issues have a serious impact on Otterbein’s endeavors as an institution of higher learning.
Rather than take a stance on a particular candidate or issue, we simply wanted to present varying views from the Otterbein community. Contributors are alumni, faculty, administrators and students. Also, the profiles in Classnotes look at some of our alumni who are serving the public in one capacity or another.
We feel it is important to try to look at these topics, as best we can, through apolitical lenses. Politics can be a messy, frustrating business. There would seem to be little argument that as a country we have become more polarized in the last couple of decades, that there is a much greater separation between conservative and liberal, Republican and Democrat, than in the past. A study this past June from the Pew Research Center stated that Americans’ “values and basic beliefs are more polarized along partisan lines than at any point in the past 25 years.”
Our media sometimes reflect this. Whereas there was a time when impartiality was widely accepted in the journalism world, there is a perception that some outlets now design their content toward one point of view. Certainly, web content is especially prone to be selective and designed for one side or the other. This kind of presentation of the news has prompted a new word to spring up in our lexicon: narrowcasting.
In a classic, which came first, the chicken or the egg scenario, we can ask, “Does increased partisanship in the media create greater divisions in the public or are outlets serving up increasingly partisan fare to meet market demands?”
But in the micro-world of individuals, we are so much better than this. When politics are removed from the equation, we come together and work as a people united for all kinds of good causes, whether we are fighting against cancer, illiteracy, heart disease or any number of apolitical, amorphous foes to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If we can learn to come together as well on the political front, politics in general could become less confrontational and polarized, and I think most of us would agree that would be good for our country.
And that kind of cooperation and harmony can be seen everyday right here at Otterbein, in the good cause of educating our young people to become good and involved and engaged citizens, whether they go on to vote Republican, Democrat or some other party.
We have tried to look at these issues of the day fairly, but surely these issues are not without controversy. We welcome your feedback and invite you to join the civil exchange of ideas in a respectful open forum.
There was some controversy in our leadership issue (spring 2012) and in particular, our feature, Leaders Who Came to the ’Bein. Our selections of Woody Hayes and Jane Fonda met with some who felt they shouldn’t have been included in such a list. The point can certainly be argued, but it was not our intent to include only non-controversial leaders in our presentation. However, it was also not our intent to dredge up bad memories and bad feelings about anyone in the list from our readers, and we do regret that seemed to be the case for a few.
We certainly don’t want to be … narrowcasting. But we also don’t want to be scared by controversial content, so we will continue to strive to be an accurate window to something of which most of us are bipartisan and very fond: Otterbein University.
Roger Routson, editor