The Gustavian Weekly

Don’t Judge a Book…

By David Roland Opinion Editorial | May 2, 2014 | Opinion

Recently a rally was held outside of the Chapel for increased transparancy on campus organized by the Our Gustavus campaign. A conglomerate for many transparancy-related organizations, like the Greens’ Divest Gustavus initiative. They work together, but they are not the same in practice or ideology.

After the rally, I heard many people criticizing it. citing such observations as: “they’re using petrolium products at a divestment rally!” and “who would protest the chapel?” When in actuality, 1) the balloons had questions related to vocation from the CSL, and 2) it was a rally not a protest.

I love a good discourse,  but these are simple, inaccurate observations that lack the necessary information to form accurate criticism. In other words, judging a book by its cover.

A similar lack of appreciatuion for the gray areas of life was shown last week in a number of people’s responses to the article, “Do We Need a Shift?” written by Senior Sam Hoppe.

The focus of the article was to say that exclusivly focusing on the suffering of those in poverty is counterproductive because it creates an us–them dichotomy based on pity. His idea was that to empower those in poverty, you don’t have to demonize those who have been relatively sucessful in their lives (e.g. Steve Jobs).

I disagree with the bulk of his column as a Democrat, but I still took the requisite time to find his point of view and review it with an open mind. This helped me realize me that his arguments about focusing on sports stars and entertainers to be a synectic argument. He was not saying we should ignore those in poverty and focus exclusively on the rich, but that a balance is needed. In many cases it even seemed that many critics of his article didn’t even read it.

Both are examples of people refusing to examine issues with an open mind. Losing a much- needed appreciation for complexity. In many of these cases what is needed is to forget your bias for a moment and explore the concept. In the rally’s case, walk over and explore what they are gathered for. And reading Sam’s article, examine his argument objectively and determine its validity.