The Audacity of Openmindedness

Topic of your choice

The two party system of American politics is obsolete. Politicians need to recognize the futility of polarization and instead realize that it is moderation and increased openmindedness that better serves the interests of the public. Instead of only trying to prove the other side wrong, politicians should be more accepting of positive aspects from the opposing party’s viewpoint. My own openmindedness has proven useful not only in school and extracurriculars, it has also helped me gain a fuller appreciation of many other facets of life. In my involvement on the policy debate team, I have found open-mindedness, innovation, and creative problem solving is rewarded. While I never hesitated to attack the negatives of an opposing team’s arguments, I always find it necessary to acknowledge their obvious positive aspects in order to appear more credible to the judge. Ignoring their positive issues or writing them off as unimportant would not help me win an argument; it would only make the judge more sympathetic to the other team. Only by acknowledging their strengths could I develop a more meaningful discussion of the issue that would illustrate to the judge true understanding and engagement. Approaching topics with an open mind allows me to think creatively and address issues holistically, developing unconventional, unpredictable strategies that are the foundation of my debate successes. Being open minded has also helped me gain a greater appreciation of others’ talents, despite my lack of ability in a particular area. Polarization and closemindedness do not just exclude the undesirable aspects of life, they also eliminate some of the most enjoyable parts. Many have a tendency to dislike things they are not good at or viewpoints they may not understand. For me, watching someone else artfully master the intricacies of sheet music and violin solos or another person launch a perfectly aimed basketball through the hoop only fills me with wonder and joy at the ability of others to excel in fields I cannot. My lack of natural ability in things like the violin or basketball might limit my potential to perform in such activities, but I can still enjoy the things I am not good at and value those who excel in areas I am lacking. My determination to be openminded affected my academic life as well. While some refused to acknowledge the usefulness of studying pre-calculus or European history, I knew it wise to commit my time to both the sciences and humanities. Participating in both debate and the math team gave me an opportunity to vigorously exercise my mind in two diverse ways. While others insisted on only their own viewpoints during class discussions, I advocated the pragmatic middle road during heated arguments. The failure of the two party system can be attributed to the lack of that pragmatic moderate voice. Instead of displaying embarrassing gamesmanship at every opportunity, politicians should fulfill their promises of “reaching across the aisle” to establish truly impactful and sustainable policies, doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people. The adoption of a more openminded approach to problem solving, like the one I strive for everyday, would greatly benefit the American political system.

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