Eric Stubben is a mechanical engineering junior and Mustang News conservative columnist. | Ian Billings/Mustang News

Eric Stubben
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Eric Stubben is a mechanical engineering junior and Mustang News conservative columnist. These views do not necessarily reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.

It’s time to take a step back. Maybe even two or three steps back. It’s time to take a look at political debate and discourse from the outside.

Last week’s article concerning the happenings in Ferguson, Missouri, was arguably my most controversial to date. I knew touching on the topic of race was difficult, but last week opened my eyes to the depth and significance surrounding the issue. Several people approached me to display their appreciation for my thoughts and honesty. Others … Well, let’s just say they didn’t like it very much.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The point of the article wasn’t to spark racial debates or offend anybody. My goal was simply to tell my side of the story as I — and quite a few other Americans — see it. I wouldn’t change a word of the article even if I had the opportunity.

The way I see things politically is fundamentally different from anybody else in this world. I do not identify my views as solely “Republican” or “conservative,” though oftentimes I do closely align with these labels. In fact, I don’t really agree with applying broad labels to my views, or anybody else’s for that matter. We all see politics and world events through our own personal lenses of life that have been shaped and hardened and defined over time through experiences.

I see life through the lens of Eric Stubben. I’m small-town born and raised by a teacher and a police officer. I was raised on the values of hard work and persistence. I’ve traveled across states and countries. I’ve worked on a farm and in a bank. I’ve seen the rich and I’ve seen the poor. All of these life events have led me to where I am today. I am who I am, and nobody can change that.

Last year, our own liberal columnist, Zachary Antoyan, wrote an article titled, “Meaningful political discourse comes from full range of opinions.” It couldn’t have told the truth about political discussion and debate any better. Though I appreciated the article then, the message it sent inspired me this past week.

We have the opportunity to shape our country with incredibly diverse perspectives. Yet we don’t seem to want to use all of these perspectives. If a shared view or opinion is unpopular, the vocal public seems to shy away from its discussion using personal attacks and dismissal until the threat of an outside opinion is gone.

How do we expect to have meaningful political discussion if we can’t face the fear inside ourselves, whispering in the back of our mind that there may be another opinion? How do we expect to move forward as a country when the fear of ignorance is the greatest thing holding us back?

Instilling fear and doubt into anybody who has the guts to speak their mind will create a society that deters discussion and resists honesty. Without honesty, we will never have the political debate we need to solve serious issues.

However, with honesty also comes discomfort. People will state harsh truths and opinions that don’t align with the popular majority and may even anger some people. While I don’t, and would never, condone racism, sexism or any other negative “-ism,” the reality of political discussion is that it must be mildly uncomfortable and honest before positive change can arise.

One of the great things we have in the world is all of the tools we need to be successful and proactive. We are connected instantly across the globe and have diverse institutions of higher learning. Ideas and opinions can be shared immediately and become reality faster than ever.

It’s rather incredible to think that students coming from completely different backgrounds can attend the same college, take the same classes and work together to reach common goals.

The only thing holding us back from greater success as a nation and as the human race is not our tool set, but our mindset.

Until the mindsets on selfishness, personal defamation and entitlement change, the reality is that we will not see the results we need to become a better society. If the hard truth isn’t told, the raw data isn’t shown and the difficult decisions aren’t made, we will continue to fall into the rut of reaction without action.

There is not just one side to blame. Across the political spectrum – from far right to far left – ignorance seems to be bliss. There are two sides to every story. Everybody sees through their own lens. Everybody’s perspective is needed to move this world in a positive direction.

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