Opinion of the editors: Liberals, conservatives and tea; oh my!

Chris Reichert | Editor-in-Chief
Colleen Bell Craig | Copy Chief

Last semester, The Whitworthian conducted a readership survey. One of the overwhelming responses we got is that we do not publish enough from a “conservative perspective.” The way our suggestions box reads, one would think we sit in our safe spaces drinking fair trade coffee and studiously avoiding gendered language while gleefully redacting every conservative idea that makes its way to us.

This is false—we tend to prefer tea. 

But seriously, if there is a decided lack of conservative content published in The Whitworthian, it is because there is a decided lack of conservative content submitted to The Whitworthian. 

Do our columnists tend to lean left? Perhaps. But what would the campus conservatives have us do? Require liberal columnists pretend to be conservative every other week?  That’s not a particularly conservative strategy.

We believe the solution for conservatives is to generate content themselves. Show up to write for the newspaper. Submit letters to the editor. Instructions for doing either can be found on our website and in print. 

But herein lies a deeper problem. In speaking with self-described “conservatives,” it seems there is great reluctance to do this. Some have said they are afraid of the repercussions they might face for speaking out about their own beliefs. What they desperately want is for “someone else” to write things they agree with.

Regardless of our beliefs, our community should not accept this.

Have we fostered an environment where we actively silence people with different views? If this is true, how can we claim that Whitworth is a place for diversity, a place for dialogue, a place for intellectual discourse, if we bully our opponents into silence?

And if this isn’t true, then what alternate explanation do we propose? Conservative students are cowards or are overreacting? 

We think neither of these are true.

Now, we think there’s plenty of blame to spread around. Conservatives and liberals: you both must be that voice you’re longing for. Nobody else will do it for you. If you’re not willing to put your name behind your convictions, how convicted can you be?

On the other hand, we all need to rethink how we react to opinions we find distasteful. Tolerance and diversity apply to thoughts as well as skin tone and gender. We guarantee these words or any other published in this newspaper will not cause you harm. They might offend you, but that’s OK. You have the right to be offended, but not to be free from potential offense.

As you look around your classrooms, your residence halls, your table in the dining hall, do you really think half of the people around you—half of your friends—are hateful? If so, then The Whitworthian cannot help you there.

This publication is a source of news, a voice of students and a chronicle of history. What it is not, is an ideological mercenary. Do not ask us to champion your beliefs on your behalf. Do not be the journalistic version of that useless sidekick in an 80’s action movie who dances around the sidelines yelling things like,  “Go for the throat!” and, “Look behind you!” while never actually entering the fight themselves. 

You might have to say something unpopular. You might have to stand alone for what you believe in. You might have to… actually talk to each other in person, instead of using our pages to do your dirty work. And should you encounter an opinion you find distasteful, don’t complain to us about it. Go talk to the person. Have a conversation. Do it over some fair trade coffee. Better yet, go off campus and have a pint, should you be of an age and disposition to do so. If you do that, we might all be just a little better off. In the meantime, we’ll be here sipping our tea, eradicating Oxford commas and publishing the content we’re given.