Letter to the Editor: Student Responds to Protest of Speaker Paul Ryan

Dear Editor:
I was disappointed in the stance The Elm took against the lack of student engagement when Speaker of the House Paul Ryan came to the Dixon Valve and Coupling Co. While political activism is crucial to staying aware in our countries dealings I believe that it is these kinds of protests that are leading to the political divide in this country.
Call me an enemy of the press, but there is a time and place for these kinds of displays. Protesting can be a great way to poll support for a cause, but it has gotten out of hand what people think we should be protesting. Protesting does not create an environment where the other side can present themselves and we cannot be drowning out the other side in a shouting match.
Aside from the pictures that accompanied the article, it was unclear on what exactly was being protested. The goal of Speaker Ryan’s visit was to present the tax plan to some middle-class workers. Simple enough. So why is there such a presence of people concerned about health care?  I understand that the current administration is looking to make large cuts to the Affordable Care Act, if not to scrap the program entirely, which is not the direction that we need to be heading. Nonetheless, it was our duty to listen and then respond to Speaker Ryan, rather than be ready for protest and rebuttal before the argument has been put forward.
Regardless of the effectiveness that protesting has, this was not an occasion in which both sides were going to defend their arguments. There are only so many hours in a day and Speaker Ryan has plenty of things to be doing, no doubt. It would be nice to see more ‘town hall’ style engagements between the public and politicians and that is the real enemy. Protesting has become a dead form of arguing, in that there is a clear position that the crowd is going to take and then the opposing view. In these speech style events, it really is just propaganda that cannot be questioned because people don’t want to answer the hard questions simply don’t allow time for it.
We need to make events for politicians to answer our questions and not let them get away with speaking and expecting us to accept their position with a doubt. I imagine that in the course of less than an hour that all the intricacies and implications of the tax plan were discussed, and so it was unreasonable of Speaker to not permit anytime for questions and criticisms in hopes that our concerns are addressed appropriately.
Michael Hershey, freshman

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