Monday, February 27, 2012

Challenge #15

Something you miss…

Over the weekend Rick Santorum called President Obama a snob for wanting people to have the opportunity to go to college. He feels the President wants people in college so they will be indoctrinated by them damned liberal professors.

In my educational career had the good fortune to attend both a conservative religious university and a more liberal one. There are many positive things I gathered from the university experience. In addition to knowledge and friends, I feel I gained critical thinking skills. These skills are honed through passionate discussions with my peers in the dorms, around the table at mealtime, in the halls and in the classroom. I truly enjoyed sitting around the dorm arguing the merits of a particular line of thought on a topic until the wee hours of the morning. In my undergrad I feel my critical thinking skills were in their infant stage. I held onto the conservative views of my upbringing, so I was more likely to fall into line with popular opinion based solely on the authority of the speaker. I remember listening to Rush Limbaugh and believing… if Rush said it, it was RIGHT. Some of my friends from that era chuckle now to remember those days as I now espouse a more progressive worldview. As I moved through the years between undergrad and graduate school I saw my abilities to think critically about the beliefs I held grow stronger. I went from being a supporter of George W. Bush in 2000 to questioning his leadership abilities and ultimately switching party affiliations and supporting Barack Obama in 2008. In 2004 I asked several Kerry supporters to tell me why they were supporting him. I wanted to have a well reasoned, critical argument with them not to change their view, but to see if mine were valid. I’ve learned in the years between my educational experiences and since completion of grad school; most people don’t seem to have time to ponder the philosophical implications of a particular event or how a book impacted their lives; work and family takes up most of the spare brainpower we may have laying around.

I miss those intellectual discussions in the halls of the university with my peers. I miss sounding out my views and listening to the views of others to see if mine could stand up. I miss exploring a differing view and finding that it has merit over one I hold. It was easier to have those conversations in the university setting because that is what everyone is there to do, or at least it should be. I’m not saying that subscribing to the liberal political philosophy is right for everyone, but it’s right for me. Sen. Santorum and other conservative parents should be fearful of letting their fully indoctrinated children go to university because if they didn’t teach their child to hold onto their conservative or religious worldview using critical thinking; those poor children may have their minds opened to new ideas and perspectives and, perhaps worse… they may learn to reason for themselves and stop voting for ignorant, fear-mongering Republicans.

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