The Issue With Compromise

Keeping An Open Mind Is More Important Than Ever

Kaleigh Zollman

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Art by Emma Mayer

Instead of being civil and discussing important matters in a productive manner, many choose to ignore the issue at hand or quarrel.

Since the 2016 election, the division of Americans is more complex than ever. We fail to agree on how to resolve important issues such as climate change, abortion and gun control. Instead of being civil and discussing important matters in a productive manner, many choose to ignore the issue at hand or quarrel. We see arguments like these between our peers, family members and even political leaders. What we fail to realize, is that although our passion for our beliefs run deep, arguing does not solve anything. We learn far more when we sit down and have open-minded conversations. 

When The Voice staff discussed how we felt about climate change, we found ourselves disagreeing within minutes. It was easy for us to agree that climate change was real and that people in positions of power were ignoring it. Climate change is undeniable; it is already affecting human health, agriculture and the weather. It is based on honest facts and science, but some still believe that it is a conspiracy. However, our staff’s opinions began to differ when the cause of it all was brought up: humans or a natural warming period. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, human activities have caused the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere to skyrocket. In our room, tensions among the staff ran the highest when the topic of climate change activism was brought up. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden made news in late 2018 when she began to stand outside of the Swedish Riksdag (parliament) holding a sign calling for students to go on a climate strike. Thunberg has yet to propose a solution, causing the belief she is getting nothing done and all she is doing is yelling and throwing a fit to get her way. On the other hand, Thunberg is only 16, it is easy to argue that she is only standing up for what she believes in and that she is not required to hold all the answers. This is when our staff discussion veered away from what we were actually supposed to be talking about and turned into a heated discussion. The staff had conflicting opinions about Thunberg’s activism and were passionate about it.  Everyone began talking at once, the volume getting louder by the second. We tried to get the discussion back on topic and civilized. Despite these attempts, the atmosphere of the room changed and people were left feeling annoyed, and the conversation ended. Because we did not communicate our opinions effectively and respectfully, we could not come to an agreement and it felt like a waste of our time. 

The disagreement that happened in The Voice staff meeting is nothing out of the ordinary. It is hard to discuss political issues that are based on morals because they are what define us as humans. According to Melanie Green, a professor at The University of Buffalo, if a discussion is heated from the start, it can lead to individuals feeling threatened, ruling out a compromise instantly. It is imperative that we remain respectful and communicate our opinions in a civil manner. By doing so, reaching an agreement becomes much easier.  

There is no sign of the steep division in America going away anytime soon. Although we will never become a utopian society, if teens learn these communication skills before we become the adults of our society, we can be much more productive. Exchanging ideas and listening to others with an open mind is how we learn and grow. Keeping the door to conversation open is important and will lead to a society working together to solve important issues.