In current world politics, we see politicians bickering endlessly from their political parties, and world leaders disagreeing with each other at every turn. It's a society of argument where no one is willing to compromise, and politicians are willing to shut down the government over issues like funding Planned Parenthood. In the hallways at school, I am often bombarded with a series of political ideology on various issues, often times surrounding personal beliefs and ideologies.
The P5 cannot agree on anything, their current point of contention being action in Syria. I often times find myself in a conversation where the resolution is that we agree to disagree. While this is an identifying factor of American politics, it prevents real social change from happening. Our ok-ness with lack of disagreement is why there is such gridlock in both domestic and international politics.
So why is this? Why as a world community do we feel the need to not compromise? I believe that it is our lack of diplomacy, and that not enough people practice diplomacy in their day-to-day lives.
I am a big believer in the United Nations, and have been a passionate member of my Model United Nations (MUN) delegation and have worked with the United Nations Foundation on the Girl Up Campaign, but then about a year ago I thought that it wasn't enough, so I decided that I would teach a week-long diplomacy seminar for middle school students. I remember distinctly in middle school that my view of the world went from "World peace seems so easy," to "Wow, these issues are a little more complicated than they seem." One of my life mentors also happens to teach seventh grade history; I additionally had the beginnings of Middle School MUN.
The program starts for the second year on Monday, and I am filled both with hope and dread. Dread because I have a deep fear that my seventh grade students will be uninterested and not learn anything out of the seminar. But I am also hopeful that they will come away with a new view of the world so that when they grow up maybe we could live in a more bipartisan world where compromise is possible.
I know that my short seminar to a small classroom of kids in Portland, Oregon will not change the political climate of this country or radically make huge changes to international diplomacy, but perhaps it's a start. If we start teaching students in schools to think towards the middle, towards the greater good and look past the ideologies that conform us to a box of policies that real change could be made. So maybe next time you turn on the nightly news or read the morning paper, you could look at an issue from the other guy's point of view.