I’m Listening

Diego Schtutman

Katlyn Sherinian

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Religion and politics—two topics that send many people running in the opposite direction. I, however, am not one of those people. As many of you know, I love talking about my political views and would gladly do it for hours on end. However, for this article, instead of working to convince you of what I believe, I am going to sit back and listen. Here is what I learned this week from some fascinating conversations with other opinionated Delphi students

Religion has a multitude of denominations as well as differing views between every individual. Senior Garrett Tomson talked to me about his strong religious beliefs. His opening statement was, ¨As a Christian, I am under scrutiny because my belief is different.¨ His belief is that being homosexual is a sin. In arguments about the subject, he told me that he has never been able to express his opinion without others immediately disrespecting him. ¨Personally, it clearly says (in the Bible) that homeosexuality is a sin.¨ Homosexuality has been an extremely controversial topic for years. Garrett defended his claim by saying, ¨¨Everyone sins. When I express that opinion, others attack me. I refuse to not share the good news.” In his belief, being homosexual is just as bad as lying. He believes even if you sin you can be forgiven by God. However, Garrett said that he never gets to that part of his opinion because others immediately disregard him as being homophobic.

Delphi students are not only passionate about religion but also about politics. If any of you have ever had a conversation with senior Drew Hollingsworth, you know that he is one of those people. Drew believes strongly that ¨The topic of politics is way too broad to put all of your beliefs into one or two parties.¨ Originally, Drew sided with Republicans, but after a deeper study, he realized that Republican views were too cut and dry and that most of his political views aligned with Libertarianism. Drew reminded me that our founding father himself, George Washington, warned everyone in his farewell speech to not let this country be divided by political parties. He gave his farewell speech in 1796, and his words are still extremely relevant. Drew´s solution is to encourage everyone to think for themselves and not for a party.

Drew says, ¨Government bad.¨ Government should not be as involved in individuals’ lives in his opinion. The United States was founded on a premise of not trusting your government; today we have put all of our faith into government resulting in the general population suffering. Drew fears that if the government were to take too much power our country could become an Orwellian society. Orwellian is a reference to George Orwell’s book 1984. Orwellian is an adjective that describes a society that has destroyed the welfare of the free and open society. Orwell wrote his book in 1948. According to Drew, this is yet another example of someone in the past trying to warn us, yet we continue to neglect their advice.

Another common source of disagreement is the debate over private or public health care. It is as complicated as it is controversial. Brazilian foreign exchange student Bernardo Ribas strongly believes in public health care. He believes that everyone should have basic human rights, such as free access to health care. He cited that hundreds of people die each year in Brazil because of a lack of access to health care.

In a further effort to get global opinions, I talked to German exchange student Jala Schanz. She strongly believes in the legalization of abortion. According to Jala, the cluster of cells is occupying the woman’s uterus. This cluster of cells should not have more rights than the woman. It is her body to decide what she wants to do with it.

Finally, I heard from freshman Grace O´Neil, who is quite well known for her strong opinions and for not being afraid to vocalize them. When I sat down to interview her she had done some self reflecting. She realized that she didn’t have any opinions of her own. All of her opinions have been passed on to her by family or forced upon her by society. She wants to do her research to figure out where she stands.

It has been an enlightening week for me. My conversations this week have enriched me in two ways. By listening to other points of view, I find myself thinking differently about certain topics while feeling further solidified in other areas. Both scenarios have proven rewarding. My biggest take away of all, however, is that although I much prefer talking, I’ve realized that listening isn’t so bad after all.