The Sound of Silence

Senior calls for political tolerance post-election

Stephanie Meyer '17, Lifestyles Staff

The 60s folk rock hit, Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence,” was written as a college student’s ode to youthful alienation in the 1960s–but it could easily be the theme song for 2016, a time when all Americans appeared to have stopped listening to one another. Following a mean and divisive campaign of caustic insults and “gotchas,” the election results left voters confused: crestfallen and angry on the one hand and reenergized with a sense of hope on the other– both deaf to the needs, longings, and dreams of the other.

Throughout the past several months, people have tended to surround themselves with those who agree with them, blocking out those with opposing beliefs. With the current influence of the internet, we no longer have to turn outwards to our peers for help in deciphering the world of politics, we simply have to click the “share” or “retweet” button and we face no rebuttal. This lack of communication is to blame for our lost touch with an empathetic reality.

Our nation’s inadequate exchanging of ideas and beliefs even extend to the Jones’ society, and it will become our biggest shortfall. Jones is distinguished in its diversity, a diversity we should be celebrating and capitalizing on. By fashioning “Republican” or “moderate” into a swear word, we are degrading half the country and are invalidating their experience which serves as the foundation to their beliefs (it is important to note that the majority of the Republican party is not racist, sexist, homophobic, or bigoted.).  If we do not know why a person holds specific beliefs because we deliberately ignore them, we become ignorant and are segregating the world into those who are worth listening to and those who are not and based on what we have learned from United States history, ostracizing any group of people for any reason never has a good moral or economic result.

By people “hearing but not listening,” succumbing to the pressure to stay silent on urgent, tormenting issues in order to evade the social shunning they think their comments will be met with–by perpetrating “the sound of silence”– we are crystallizing a destructive end to human empathy.