By Alex Romano, Opinions Editor
I never thought that, upon entering a liberal arts school at the tail end of the Obama years, an age defined by the rise of the PC Movement and its consequential alienation and embitterment of segments of the nation’s youth and the Republican Party, I would see so few opinion pieces published in the college newspaper. I have a variety of feelings with regard to this recent shortage of articles from contributing writers. Among these feelings, however, there is no judgment or disappointment. Rather, I was at first surprised. Was there honestly not enough intrigue, violence, and vitriol to go around during the campaign season that would give cause to a lot of students to submit? Secondly, I was curious. Should there be better advertising on the part of the paper? And then, of course, as we all have a reputation to stake on this campus, amongst the people with whom we live and with whom we share classes and seats in the dining hall, I became self-conscious about the lack of submissions: maybe there needs to be more assurance for potential writers that whatever opinions they have to share will not be used as a basis for judgment of their character, intelligence, or ideology. Whatever the reason, it is indisputable that diverse, original opinions are essential in any intellectual community, and that opinion pieces are important in any free press.
I should emphasize the penultimate word in that last sentence: free. As a writer for the Gettysburgian, you are encouraged to discuss any subject within the section to which you contribute (sections are News; Features; Arts and Entertainment; Money, Science, and Technology; Sports; and of course, Opinions). For op-eds, particularly, the variety of subjects ranges expansively. A writer has the option to discuss student life, academics, politics, religion, etc. The paper provides full liberty in that respect, and a diversity in subjects is encouraged.
Along with an encouragement of diverse subjects comes an encouragement of diverse opinions. We do not want a Democrat-or-Republican-dominated newspaper, nor do we want the Opinions Section reduced to a trite, redundant, and edgeless black-and-white page filled with passages expressing series of homogeneous beliefs. Writers are expected to share unique positions, thrust unpopular ideas into the mainstream, and challenge the majority. The Gettysburgian will not benefit from printing a repetition of the same ideology week after week. An artist’s palette is no good if it only mixes one color. Editing is confined to the grammar, punctuation, and overall mechanics of the article, and nothing is done to change the idea of the piece. There is no outside influence on the article whatsoever; it is purely the writer’s own.
Now, it is understandable that students do not always have the time to write. I, myself, am guilty of failing to set an article that I promised my editor I would send to him. It was finals week in December, and I wanted to write an article summarizing and analyzing the wild events of the previous year. However, the realities of that relentlessly demanding stretch of time pre-Christmas prevented me from producing a piece that was of peak quality, so I soon abandoned the project. Thus, The Good, The Dab, and The Ugly: 2016 in Review never came to be. No hard feelings, though. As sure as editors have lives of their own and work that needs taking care of before they have time to worry about the paper, writers have lives and work, too, and are also entitled to setting their priorities. Fair is fair.
So there it is. This is my personal policy, and mine only, as I need to assure all potential writers that you have nothing to worry about in contributing to my section. Above is the contract that the writer holds with his/her editor, at least within the jurisdiction of the Opinions Section (and only my Opinions Section; I will not speak for anybody else who came before me or will come after me). I will faithfully and dutifully execute all of the tasks that I have set for myself in this article, knowing that in doing so your voice will be heard. And think: how often is it that you will be able to share your opinions with so many people all at once? Thank you.