Bruce Rauner Roller Blades

Bruce Rauner holding up the peace sign. Source:
Written by Johnathon Goodenow. Media by Kelsey Middleton.

Over the summer, I made several stops at Lincoln Park in Springfield to put in some miles for the upcoming cross country season. One day, as my father and I stopped for a drink, he told me that he thought he had seen the governor go by him not much earlier. I didn’t believe him at first. That sounded a little ridiculous to me. Surely the governor wouldn’t spend whatever free time he had out here. But, lo and behold, it didn’t take long for Bruce Rauner to come skating along by himself. My dad thanked him for his public service, the governor responded with a “Thank you,” and a nod, and that was it. A detail vehicle passed by soon afterward. This may seem like a simple interaction or a neat story with little meaning. However, it really made me think about how we treat our politicians.
Bruce Rauner – Source:
Politicians put themselves (sometimes literally) in the line of fire.
It might sound strange for anyone to characterize politicians as being anything other than dishonest and out of touch, but stick with me here. Our encounter was within a month of the congressional baseball shooting, which hospitalized House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. This made our run-in with the poorly-approved Rauner all the more surprising. The governor doesn’t believe that state tax dollars should be used to bail out the pension funds of Chicago schools and refused to accept education funding legislation which included that stipulation. A number of people are upset with this deadlock in Springfield regarding funding for education, and it is easy to point fingers at the executive branch.  Whether or not that is the correct move I’ll let you decide, but Rauner was standing up for beliefs that he and his constituents value. I think that kind of stance in the face of public ridicule is admirable at the very least.
Perpetuating Partisanship
One way that the hatred of politicians is spread is through the way that we, as voters, have discussions about political topics. We are often close-minded and think through the lens of “What does my candidate/party believe?” or “Why is the other side wrong?” rather than thinking through problems on an issue-by-issue basis. When we think this way, we paint all arguments as black and white, and half of the population as political enemies. In truth, we all live in the same country and want to improve it. We just have different ideas of how to go about doing that.
Republican and Democrat Logos – Source:

A major reason that Americans tend to think this way about politics is that they put themselves in ideological bubbles. They get their news from people who share their political beliefs, and are rarely challenged to think about an issue from another perspective. People get their news from opinionated articles and videos on Facebook, late night shows on TV, talk show hosts, and news outlets that tend to reinforce certain political beliefs. Obama battled with Fox News during his presidency, and Trump has certainly let us know how he feels about CNN.

So What?
Americans need to acknowledge the humanity of public servants and think critically about political topics. As an aspiring journalist, I hope that I can help with the latter. I would also encourage those of you who read the opinion articles by the Papyrus to interact with the writers in a peaceful, yet constructive way. I am honestly disappointed when I write an article that I know people will disagree with, and absolutely nobody talks to me about it either on social media or in person. I hope that I can speak for all of the writers when I ask you to have conversations with us. Writers have the unique opportunity on a small campus to encourage discussion in a way that a massive publication can’t, and I want to take as much advantage of that as possible.



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