Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; We Need Thick Skin, Soft Hearts

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; We Need Thick Skin, Soft Hearts

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Donaldson

The United States of America has elected its 45th president.

In what was arguably the most important election in recent history, a vast majority of Americans were extremely discouraged with both candidates.

Despite the fact that the election is officially over, many Americans are still concerned with the projected future of the country. This has only further strained tensions, leaving everyone mentally exhausted.

How did we as a society become so polarized? While it would be easy to blame the system, neither candidate is the problem; "We the People" are the problem.

Out of fear and arrogance, our nation has inexcusably divided itself along political boundaries, each side vigorously promoting increasingly divisive ideologies while demonstrating little room for compromise. Still, there is hope for the future.

Admittedly, widespread change does not occur in an instant. However, change must begin with us if America is to ever improve. Recently, I joined nearly 200 other students gathered at the UNF Student Leadership Summit sponsored by the Taylor Leadership Institute.

At my discussion table, our group acknowledged the strife within our nation as we corporately expressed our desire to become agents of action and change, not only here at UNF, but within the greater Jacksonville community.

Prompted by our reflection on UNF's six core values, it is our desire to rebuild civil discourse among a divided body politic.

In order for this ideal to become a reality, we advocate for the following propositions.

First, we advocate for the urgent promotion of self-education amongst the student body regarding issues impacting national policy.

According to The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), only about 50 percent of eligible voters aged 18-29 participated in the 2016 general election.

We are the generation of future leaders and the future is now; regardless of our nation's past, our generation will determine its course. …

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