Regardless of which side of the fence you sit, politics feels toxic, increasingly vicious, and often unproductive. We don’t need to debate the whys, but we do need to find ways to engage and exist alongside those with political views different from our own. Political science professor Allison Stanger is setting a noteworthy example, even if the visible role she now plays as a free speech advocate is one she might not have asked for. Allison’s willingness to facilitate a public forum on the Middlebury College campus with conservative author Charles Murray in early 2017 resulted in protests and a brutal attack by students and faculty. That attack left Allison with a serious concussion and neck injury that she still struggles to recover from almost two years later.
Allison’s story is compelling, and in many ways her experience has further fueled her passionate view that we must engage with those who hold political views different from our own. She’s refreshingly candid, engaging, thoughtful, and her perspective thought-provoking. You may not agree with everything she says, but you will no doubt appreciate her patriotism and passion for not only free speech, but for difficult speech. Our conversation covers a lot of ground, including Allison’s thoughts on faith and the important role it plays in her life. She is using her voice and her platform to encourage us to rediscover our humanity. She’s leading with impact, and setting an important example for others.