Discussion arises about the power of political intimidation


Micaela Johansson

: Participants at the spring semesters first Speaking of Democracy discussion in USU 2310 during u-hour on Tuesday Feb. 6

Adrianna Adame, Assistant News Editor

On Feb. 6 at 12 p.m., the American Democracy Project (ADP) hosted the first of two Speaking of Democracy talks at CSUSM in the USU Meeting Room 2310 A and B. This first Speaking for Democracy event focused on the power of political intimidation. Members of the ADP, community leaders from Leadership North County had conversations based on questions of the focused topic.

Dr. Kimber Quinney, an assistant history professor from CSUSM and Campus Coordinator for ADP, said that this Speaking for Democracy would encourage students “to listen with the intent to understand.” In this time, discussing political matters in an open dialogue without acting unreasonable because of biases is important. The issue of political intimidation is “a crisis of democracy” because of its lack of creating a different and more thoughtful perspective.

Sociology professor, Mohamed Abumaye said, “education is a way how people became empowered” to combat political intimidation. He says that, “a way to transform self…[is to] become an engaged citizen.” Abumaye’s message was that becoming aware of injustices, creating social change and receiving an education is the best way that people can defeat the use of political intimidation that was meant to be used to knock people down.

Beth Merzog, a community leader from Leadership North County said that this event was important for students to understand in order “to learn from others to be a better community leader and citizen.” Merzog also said that this first Speaking for Democracy conversation got “students and leaders engaged in an open dialogue,” about political affairs.

Students and community leaders were able to participate in conversations about topics that were about political intimidation. Everyone had the opportunity to share their perspectives without fearing political intimidation themselves or being put down because of their stance on certain issues. Students seeked to understand others, by listening without judgment. This open discussion allowed students to become more involved with today’s politics.

Dr. Quinney said, “political intimidation can happen from the left or the right.” Political intimidation does not only occur from one side. It is important for students to understand its power, and how to combat it. Scott Gross, Associate Vice President of CSUSM Community Engagement concluded the event with, “Democracy is doing things. It’s something you participate in.”

The next Speaking of Democracy event will be held on March 6. Registration is required at csusm.edu/democracy.