Welcoming different opinions: Pantsuit Politics to host talk on campus

A podcast is heading to campus to hold discussions concerning civility in discussions

By Eugene Truong

Pantsuit Politics will be coming to Ripon College on Friday, March 23, to hold a workshop and a keynote talk on how to have productive and civil conversations. In particular, the workshop will place emphasis on methods to approach a person from a different political party or mindset.

Created in October 2015 by two women of opposite political stripes, Pantsuit Politics is a podcast channel that provides respectful and insightful discussions. These discussions are published twice a week and involve recent, important events that have made national headlines.

One feature sets the show aside from a television broadcast: its participants focus on how to talk to and treat each other, not just the news. This goal is listed on the podcast’s website, Pantsuit Politics: “We leave tired talking points behind and approach divisive topics with intellectual curiosity, humor, and grace”.

Dr. Steven Martin, director of Ripon’s Communication Department, speaks of the potential of Pantsuit Politics: “They [the creators] have constructive dialogues […] as often as possible. They want to model what they want their audience to become and to do”. Furthermore, the podcast’s founders will also aim at conversations on a more local or personal level, promising realistic benefits for students to communicate effectively with each other.

Will Pantsuit Politics be helpful regarding Ripon’s current environment? Lauren Hince, class of 2018, says yes. “We’re hoping to invite all of the political groups on campus to come […] to the workshop” Hince said.

Since this workshop, as aforementioned, will offer various ways and means to talk to a person with another perspective, students of all stripes are encouraged to attend.

As for any long-term applications, Hince points out the podcast’s features-respectful and productive discussions-that can prove useful for political debates on campus. She also notes that it is unnecessary for students to revile each other just because they disagree on certain topics.

“[Ripon] is a small campus, and I hope that all students that are interested in politics want to engage with each other, and not just stick with […] their bubbles”, the senior concluded.

The coming event is sponsored by three groups: College Democrats, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation.

“No shouting. No insults. Plenty of nuance”, goes the motto of Pantsuit Politics. This motto alludes to a premise: America’s political landscape has changed rapidly since the past decade, widening divisions. A notable feature of 21st-century politics is the polarization in political thought, which has led to lasting animosity both in the common populace and office holders.

Ripon College recently had an incident that highlights the necessity for constructive and civil dialogues among different student groups. Since they were put up last week, several Black Student Union posters have been vandalized, with some being slashed, crumpled, and thrown into toilet bowls. As of now, the culprit, or culprits, are yet to be found.

While scholars can analyze the causes of these ongoing phenomena, Pantsuit Politics already offers solutions, and the goal is clear: restoring civility to all conversations.