Staff editorial: Calling all points, counterpoints

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If you glance at the first page of The Mac Weekly, you may notice that the paper has been independent and student-run since 1914. We’re a community paper, and the opinion section in particular allows students an opportunity to point out problems they see on our campus or anywhere else in the world and to offer their solutions. It is, after all, the only section in which global issues are addressed and biases are owned.

Everyone on campus has the opportunity to use this paper as their means of communicating with the larger student body, and the quality of the paper as dependent as much on the people who work on it as those who don’t.

So to make the opinion section in particular more personal and engaging, we’re running our first pair of point-counterpoint articles. Looking ahead to the U.S. presidential election, the first pair considers the question of the relevance and efficacy of electoral politics in creating social change.

Throughout the semester, we’ll be offering more questions for point-counterpoints, but we also welcome you to submit prompts and perspectives that interest you. We can pair you with a writer with a different view, or you can approach us with your own arrangement.

What, really, is the best way to individually or collectively effect change? Or is the question of a “best” way even useful? The modes of engagement that Macalester students operate within and between are surely as numerous and diverse as students themselves, but we think there is something productive about conversations between students across differences in ideologies, strategies and tactics, as well as in social identity and location.

Students knock on doors for political candidates, create politically provocative and challenging fine and performing art, volunteer with non-profit and non-governmental organizations ranging from grassroots to hegemonic and chain themselves together outside of war profiteering munitions factories. In a particularly intriguing example of cognitive action, last weekend, a cohort of students met at the locker room saunas in the Leonard Center, questioning the gendering of spaces at Macalester and the role of community members and institutions in reproducing gender and other relations of power. As a community invested in critical civic engagement, we all stand to benefit from rigorous conversations about such diversity of tactics.

We recognize that an editorial page itself is a particular mode of engagement allowing for particular kinds of narrative representations, and that this mode has it limits. But it is our intention that the opinion section of The Mac Weekly serve as one kind of forum for the expression of conversations not only about ideology and identity, but about tactics, strategies and modes of political engagement. We welcome your perspectives.

The opinions expressed above are those of The Mac Weekly, as determined by the staff. The perspectives are not representative of Macalester College.