Essays: Katie Daily

The Groundwork for Discourse

Mentors often tell their mentees: “Do what you know.” Write what you know, paint what you know, create what you know.

This advice is not to be dismissed, and it is a mantra for many successful professionals. But in terms of gaining value from political rhetoric, I advise the opposite. Your perspective and your beliefs are not facts, and once you recognize this as your groundwork for political discourse, you will have more meaningful discussions.

This startling realization was something I discovered at Drury during my freshman Alpha Seminar class with Dr. Jeanie Allen. I had a disagreement with a peer about a controversial subject. We went back and forth for quite a while before we realized our perspectives were a direct result of the environments in which we’d lived prior to moving to college.

Our differences were more a difference in perspective than in facts. We agreed to disagree and were able to move forward and work together, with our own beliefs but with a different understanding of each other and newfound respect.

Hunter S. Thompson once said in a letter to a friend that “every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience.”

Our reactions to others who have different beliefs must not be based on fear, hatred or judgment, but rather what it is: a different perspective and opportunity to learn something new. To our legislators in Washington and future generations of leaders: Recognize that your beliefs are just as valuable as the facts, but learn to see the difference.