The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Persuasion needs to be respectful

Renee Rosenow

A woman was recently assaulted in Caledonia, Wis. not because of her race, gender or religion, but for her political party affiliation; she is a Democrat. While door-to-door canvassing for the Barack Obama campaign, Nancy Takehara, of Chicago, was repeatedly hit over the head by a raving, screaming man.

No reports of such violence have taken place in the area surrounding Eau Claire, but both Republicans and Democrats have been the targets for other types of crime, mainly vandalism. Signs on campus have been stolen, kicked down and damaged. Some people may have even noticed the childish anti-McCain graffiti on the footbridge.

Not only are these possible attempts at political persuasion disrespectful, they are pointless, hateful and frightening.

No matter who I’m voting for, I could never imagine myself destroying property to prove a point against the person I am not supporting. Hopefully with Election Day fast approaching, these crimes can finally stop, but even before then I hope students can see how these activities are wrong and definitely not funny.

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I fear the people participating in these activities are on a slippery slope. If there is nothing to stop them from ruining a political sign on the Campus Mall, what would stop them from ruining a billboard or a vehicle with a political bumper sticker?

If they’re going to spray paint a message on the footbridge, why wouldn’t they go to the house of a politician and spray paint that too? And when someone is busy defacing another’s property, what’s to stop that person from confronting them? If any crime spurns from hate, it has the possibility to end in violence.

I find it extremely hard to believe that doing anything that could be considered disrespectful is in anyway helping your candidate.

Comments made by McCain supporters like “Kill him!” or “Treason!” have done nothing but injure the campaign. These things have made the political climate an extremely uneasy and potentially dangerous place to be.

I think it has already gotten to the point that many people are uncomfortable. I have concerns about even writing this column.

There is no reason to believe that all of these crimes are Republican versus Democrat. An employee at a Trucker’s Union said a woman had been in the store to buy an Obama sign for the eighth time, as her last seven signs had been stolen directly off of her property.

If you walk down Garfield Ave. you might notice Obama signs marked with the message “please don’t steal this sign.” I’m sure many will agree with me that stealing a sign off someone else’s property and placing it on your own is no way to support a candidate.

I also believe that as Election Day draws nearer, students need to remember to stay in check on how they approach political discussion. I personally like to hear that anyone is voting regardless of who they’re voting for.

What I do mind is hearing derogatory, hateful and mostly irrelevant statements made about someone with a different point of view. Talk to me, I would love to hear what you have to say, but do not tell me that you believe I or anyone else is wrong without backing it up respectfully.

Political discussion is both healthy and important to all voters. How are you to know the real extent of the issue without hearing both sides of the argument? How can you say you are right if you have never heard a differing view point on the issue?

So listen and offer your opinion. Do your best to convince the other person to agree with you, but do it considerately.

It’s normal and acceptable to have a tense political climate especially at this time and on this campus. Students like us with varying beliefs and backgrounds will never agree on one thing, nor should they.

What we need to remember is that we are all human beings and we all have a responsibility to be respectful to each other. We are accountable for our own actions. The acts of an individual should not reflect on a political candidate, but often times they will. No matter who you choose to vote for or what you believe in, always keep your fellow citizens in mind.

Ekern is a sophomore print journalism major and a copy editor for The Spectator.

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Persuasion needs to be respectful