Spend your leisure time cultivating an ear attentive to discourse, for in this way you will find that you learn with ease what others have found out with difficulty.
Growing up in a family with different politics than my own, I remember attempting to make every night at the dinner table a debate. I was convinced my politics were on a moral high ground, and I was determined to convince my family of this. I thought it was my duty to “convert” my family to believers of the values that my political party championed. I remember my mom used to tell me, “Something you’ve got to realize about politics is, Democrats and Republicans may think differently, but they don’t really act all that different.”
The idea that both sides of the political spectrum share fundamental traits, despite having differing morals, has always lingered in my mind, and it is something that I have come to find very true. Neither side is on higher ground behaviorally, although both sides believe they are. You are probably thinking, “well of course Democrats and Republicans act the same, all humans act the same at their core,” but no, I mean how each side hates the other specifically for things that they themselves do. Neither side trusts the other, both sides fear one another, and most importantly, both have a flawed perception about what the other believes.
Research has shown that there is an ever-widening “Perception Gap” growing in American politics as we speak. A study conducted by More in Common found that the Democrats they surveyed believed 53% of Republicans to hold radical views on topics like immigration, women’s rights, and climate change, despite only 34% of Republicans actually doing so. And while only 29% of Democrats hold radical views on these issues, Republicans estimated that number to be 56%.
So what does this tell us, and what does it have to do with this publication? Well, for one, it tells us that people on opposite sides of the political spectrum aren’t speaking to one another, a phenomenon driven by hyperpartisanship. It isn’t necessarily that Democrats or Republicans now have a stronger allegiance to their parties more so than ever before; it is that there is a stronger antagonism between the two parties unlike that of the past. Most importantly, with this antagonism comes assumptions that someone believes a certain way about something because of their association with a particular political party.
This antagonism has become so strong that nowadays many Democrats and Republicans chose partners and friends not based on personality or level of intimacy, but on the political party they identify with. We’ve even had people quit writing for LPR because we’re too liberal, too conservative, or somewhere in between. It is this perception gap and unwillingness to attempt to understand other perspectives that is particularly dangerous to our society, and that is where we come in.
We at the Louisville Political Review are dedicated to closing that perception gap and to helping people understand one another. We are not necessarily seeking to change anyone’s mind about a particular issue, but open it to perspectives different from their own. Rather than filtering ideas to suit the beliefs of our readers and what we think they would like, we want to encourage our readers to challenge themselves to learn about an idea from a viewpoint dissimilar from their own.
Having a venue that challenges oneself to understand different perspectives is just as important for our readers as it is for our writers and editors. The makeup of our staff is incredibly diverse, and as a result, the articles we produce are inherently varied politically, socially, and intellectually. This indirectly exposes our writers and editors to a new and wide array of concepts and perspectives. Moreover, we actively encourage our writers to evaluate their beliefs, asking deeper questions like why they think the way they do, and to always consider other perspectives when writing. We believe actively creating this space for our readers, writers, editors to articulate their ideas and spark humble discussions around often contentious topics is crucial to closing the perception gap.
We hope this is, and remains, a publication the University and community of Louisville is proud of: a diverse display of the extraordinary writing and research by undergraduate students. Niccio Machiavelli once said, “Politics have no relation to morals.” At the Louisville Political Review, we vehemently disagree. Instead, we insist on elevating respectful and informed dialogue in a political climate where conflict, ruthlessness, and boldly shrewd attempts to gain power are glorified. In other words, we strive to be a light in an oftentimes dark profession; we strive to provide clarity in the convoluted. We reject Machiavellian tendencies, and instead look to another great philosopher, Dr. King. In his words, we at LPR have decided to stick with love; for hate is too great a burden to bear.
Thus, we do not engage in ad hominem attacks on others, we do not tolerate hateful rhetoric from our members, and most importantly, we always recognize our intellectual inability to speak to every possible view of an issue.
In order to achieve transparency between our writers, editors, and our audience, it is important to share the following information to highlight the necessity of our publication.
A couple months ago, a former writer of the Louisville Political Review shared posts containing slurs on their personal social media accounts that one could view as homophobic. That member was confronted in a private meeting, where they were informed that posts of hateful and offensive nature would not be tolerated on social media accounts that are associated with an active member of LPR. This was not an arbitrary or novel standard. In fact, we have severed ties with a writer before for breaching this standard. It is important to note that this meeting, though, was not set with the intention of terminating the member that breached the Code of Conduct, only to warn them against sharing further inflammatory posts.
Instead of accepting that warning and committing to displaying more acceptable behavior, the former member instead initiated an impassioned tirade against members of the editorial board that was disrespectful and unprofessional. At the end of the meeting, the member resigned from the Louisville Political Review.
We believe the issue is now resolved, and we want to ensure our readers that the entirety of the LPR staff remain fully committed to the continuance of this publication despite these events.