OPINION | Tulane should be a model for national unity

Edwin Wang, Staff Writer

Tulane students must lead by example and come together along party lines. (Daisy Rymer)

As the U.S. moves past this election, Tulanians are obligated to honor their civic duty by rejecting divisive rancor, uniting behind the legal victor and mobilizing to craft a more equitable society. Joe Biden is our legitimate president-elect, and while America is splintered, Tulanians must coalesce behind this outcome to help restore reason and civility to American politics.

Given this campaign’s acrimony, the stakes were high for both sides of the political spectrum. In a pandemic that foiled an economic boon, certain interests surely feared a downturn. Yet, to Americans historically ravaged by systemic racism, this campaign was especially consequential. 

Both parties are to blame for our inflammatory, polarized political climate. Many Republicans have projected jingoistic, unhinged conspiracy theories that alienate minorities and women. Regardless, swaths of Democrats are also complicit in rigidly embracing partisanship that fails to forge consensus or actionable solutions.

This election cements a deep divide that emphasizes America’s persistent need to unify. Although pollsters face the most scrutiny, elected officials must acknowledge they preside over a fractured nation, and conflicts will persist until the entire electorate sincerely feels recognized.

After this contested election, discord cannot prevail. To defeat a contagious virus, crippling recession and societal inequities, Tulane University must embrace democracy’s will by giving our full faith and confidence to newly elected leadership.

In contrast to the nation’s trajectory, Tulane should be proud of steadily navigating this semester’s turbulence. Students have weathered a virulent pandemic and overcome record hurricane totals, thanks to our adaptability. 

As a research university, Tulane impacts communities beyond New Orleans. Tulane’s efforts, from the Bywater Institute combating climate change to the Cowen Institute advocating education reform, place us at the forefront of future debates. As such, we must utilize and regard our standing by serving as a beacon for truth and reason.

Tulane’s current environment serves as a hopeful model for political discourse both in New Orleans and nationally. Campus organizations promoting political education and inclusivity are laudable and require passionate engagement to promote more positive political discussions.

Furthermore, our magnitude of influence compels us to unite as a role model for regional schools and institutions. Students and educators have the utmost civic duty to denounce divisive vitriol by engaging in substantive policy discussions guided by facts. When politicians successfully exploit ire and fear to manipulate the electorate, democracy descends into peril.

We must remain unified to even attempt conquering the challenges of our generation. Be it a pandemic, climate change, economic recession or social injustice, the quest becomes impossible when we prioritize petty disagreements over collaboration.

Though democracy often renders an imperfect solution, Tulane’s resilience this semester indicates that a greater commitment to our responsibilities as citizens will guide us to come together, even in the midst of unprecedented disarray, for our collective success.