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DAWSON: U.Va.'s students must start self-evaluating to unify this University

It is time to start self-evaluating and bring back prestige to both political parties at the University

<p>We must hold ourselves accountable for our actions and bring back prestige to both political parties.</p>

We must hold ourselves accountable for our actions and bring back prestige to both political parties.

The younger generation has long been a bastion for American hope. However, this palace of hope found in American youth faces destruction. Political media tears out personas and inserts partisanship. Unnecessary designations and conformity have long made modern politics mechanical and predictable. This repeated offense is a detriment to American democracy especially in a young, intelligent community such as the University.

The natural inclination of predictability and conformity in two camps is apparent across the University’s student-led organizations. I have seen this tendency precipitate dually across the campus aisle. On one hand, we witnessed the naive call to paint over Breonna Taylor’s message at Beta Bridge to promote Amy Coney Barret for Supreme Court by the Young America’s Foundation, when individuals were still in remorse. On the other hand, this uncomfortable occurrence is equally met by the Student Council’s tendency to not promptly denounce incivility and vulgarity among some representatives against conservatives on Grounds in their meetings. An unedited video posted by YAF details the closing remarks of a Student Council meeting. It should be noted that the title,“EXPOSED: UVA Student Government Leftists Attack First Amendment and YAF Chapter” unfairly represents those who associate with liberalism or classify as “leftists.” However despite the fallacy of this title, this video can additionally be viewed to illustrate the previously mentioned harshities towards conservatives on campus. 

We are imperfect — the most beautiful things almost always are. I understand your investment in your causes and the certainty you tether to them. Yet, I pose us a question — who will guard the guards? If we are so certain in our beliefs and consolidate down into camps, who will keep us in check from destroying ourselves? If we encroach on the line of morality, who will call foul, the other camp? That is the current reality, and look how it is going. Students are relentlessly disputing each other over their partisanship and perceptions. 

However, perceptions are destined to change, and mine certainly did. I was recently diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. What is the stereotype you hear about members of the medically impaired community? That they are restrained by their impairment? That following their diagnosis they cannot lead a productive and fulfilling life? With my diagnosis labeled chronic, I certainly thought these conclusions true — ah, how naive I was. The most inspiring facet of the medically impaired community is their aptitude for understanding and their readiness to assist one another despite differences. 

My closest friends have everything from Crohn's disease, diabetes, asthma, anemia, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and appendicitis. Unlike modern politics, we understand there is no single truth to our betterment. Despite our differences, we tackle each other's conditions with an inquisitive manner. Sure, maybe a person with diabetes does not know the best approach for an individual with Crohn’s disease. Nor would I, as a person with Crohn’s disease, have any idea of the best regime for an individual with diabetes. That being said, their sympathy in wanting to help me through a different approach does not evoke spitefulness. Conversations of betterment can be had in this community. We should take reference of their success. 

This is an interesting contrast to our previously mentioned two camps at the University. There is no such incentive to understand the other camp’s attempt to help when your opinions are a standard for truth. We have consolidated so far down into the construction of two camps that an existence as an active and involved intermediary seems futile. 

However, I hold out hope for Republicans and Democrats alike. Many of my Republican peers have recognized that after former President Donald Trump’s tenure and the aftermath of the Capital riots, now is the time for reconstruction and reevaluation of their party’s platform. This is a respectable endeavor. Additionally, many of my Democrat peers have recently been inclined to self-evaluate their own political opinions. In a CNN town hall Feb. 16, President Joe Biden said in regards to the human rights violations of China against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities, “Culturally, there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow.” This comment spurred an uproar among left-leaning peers. I applaud those who denounced this comment, and I commend their commitment to political accountability. 

If we are to break the political standard that is wielded fervently by our generations, we must keep the trend and not fray from self-evaluation. We must hold ourselves accountable for our actions and bring back prestige to both political parties. There is a great hope in Charlottesville. I ask this young, intelligent community of students to accept and accommodate not only our physicalities but, also, our moral mentalities.

Rylan Dawson is a Viewpoint Writer for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at

The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Cavalier Daily. Columns represent the views of the authors alone.