The Benefits of Good Neighbors

The Benefits of Good Neighbors

After walking back to my room from our most recent Speaker Series session, I ran into a few of my neighbors on the same side of the hallway as me. We quickly struck up a conversation about the opinions we had on the speakers, the politics and policies that affected what the speakers were saying, and the questions that students were asking during the session.

I realized that this was about the fifth time that our little hallway pow wow had happened this semester. Our politically savvy group consisted of my roommate Kyle, my friend Mike, fellow blogger Brandi, her roommate Sabrina, and myself. These informal meetings have grown to be something I look forward to almost as much as the speakers and panel discussions themselves. They've taught me a little bit more about how people my age think politically on social issues as well as how they view the words spoken by their peers and their superiors.

 

Me with a few of my great neighbors: Kyle, Mike, and Sabrina

 

Political Debates

Of the three Speaker Series sessions we've had this semester, two of them have been between speakers that represented both the Republican party and the Democratic party. At The Washington Center (TWC), I learned that the majority of students participating had a SLIGHT political leaning towards the left. My compatriots also noticed this.

 

We noticed that it sometimes seemed like the conservative panelist found him or herself in an environment where they were not as welcomed, simply due to the fact that they cheer for the elephants. I absolutely admit that we are neutral group of students, politically. However, we toe the line enough to allow ourselves to simply sit back and observe what it is we see. For example, the GOP panelist in the first series, Fred Barnes, certainly said things that Democrats would disagree with and some things that any other person might also disagree with. The thing that our group unanimously noticed, however, was that after the first conservative comment he made, the atmosphere in the room suddenly felt like blood in the water for a swarm of hungry sharks. After that moment, the room seemed critical of nearly every comment Fred made, and he received some scoffs and eye rolls.

 

Now let me be clear: this is America, the land where you have the right to believe anything. You can believe anything you want, from thinking the government made up the Apollo moon landing to the idea that the federal government should have the right to determine the legality of marijuana. You have the right to believe it because this is the good ole U. S. of A. However, that also means you have to respect what other people think, and not ostracize them for it.

 

This is something I believe citizens of this country can truly start working to do a better job with. If we are critical of everything that we don't agree with, the result will be that our nation will look like a group of immature toddlers that can't work out their problems. I feel like I speak for everyone when I say that I don't want the rest of the world to look at us as the United States of Kindergartners. We need to be seen as a U.S.A.: a United Soiree of Adults. Hopefully America doesn't need to be told to grow up.

 

Nuclear Terrorism

Our group's most recent conversation occurred this past Friday at the conclusion of a presentation that considered the use of terrorism in the past decade and how the nuclear weapons may soon find their way into the hands of individuals who don't care about the collateral damage it might result in.

 

If you're scared to the point of packing up and moving to the moon, you don't have to worry. Bill Daitch from the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is on the case. During the question and answer portion of his presentation, Daitch was asked about the effects that radiation played on the health of the citizens of Hiroshima after the dropping of the atomic bomb.

This was a question that our student assembly all found to be a very good point. Daitch proclaimed his support for the dropping of the bomb as a step that insured the survival of up to 500,000 American soldiers due to the fact that it eliminated the need for the US to go through with its plan to invade Japan. Both sides had valid points for their stances. The student was correct in saying that citizens were affected by radiation for many years following the dropping of the bomb, a fact Daitch was sure to recognize. Daitch also recognized that it was hard to estimate which was more devastating (the loss of American lives from the planned invasion or the loss of Japanese citizens due to the explosion and radiation). This left the question slightly unanswered, but it gave us the ability to discuss each of our opinions.

 

So, what do you think? What would World War II have looked like without nuclear weapons? The real question that came about our own committee was how the current world would look. Like, if there would have ever been a Cold War, or would it have turned into a Hot War that led to the surface of Earth being turned to glass? Hopefully, we never know the answer to that question of nuclear fallout.

 

Neighbors are hit-and-miss wherever you live during your lifetime. Some of them will invite you over for barbecues and produce your future son-in-law while others will blow their leaves onto your lawn and make so much noise you end up learning how to survive with only 4 hours of sleep. For me this semester, I lucked out with a group of individuals that have challenged me intellectually and made more politically open-minded. I encourage you to find your own group of people that can treat you like my FFNH did: the Fifth Floor North Hallway.


Stay Classy Washington,
Zach


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