“Belief in the Legitimate Opposition” with Dr. Russell Muirhead, Professor of Democracy and Politics at Dartmouth College
By Colin Mulvey '24 | December 1, 2022
On September 20, 2022, at Saint Anselm College, students, faculty, and staff had the privilege to hear a fantastic lecture from a Dartmouth College professor and a New Hampshire State Senator. Dr. Russell Muirhead, Professor of Democracy and Politics, presented his lecture, "Belief in the Legitimate Opposition”.
Dr. Muirhead talked about the way the opposition is always trying to defeat the other. He said that in politics it is all about defining the opposition as partisans and making sure if you win, you make sure they never can get reelected ever. Oftentimes, the game plan is to try and make the other side look evil.
Aside from talking about the opposition, he talked about the increase in polarization in the country. To address this, Muirhead had many ideas. First, he mentioned how we need to go back and make our community friendly and how the community needs to believe in certain things for progress to be made. “We need to believe in the same principles since we believe in the same Constitution”, he said. Muirhead then talks about what to do when winning in politics. He says when we lose, we must turn over the power, no questions asked. He then mentions when you do win, you should not use that power to try to lock up your opponent.
Lastly, he spoke about how we as a community and a society, need to get back to doing things with our neighbors regardless of our political views, and how we must be friends first. While he talked about this, he mentioned how the state legislature of New Hampshire went to Concord and did a softball game together. He said before the game he did not want to go and did not think it would be fun. He was wrong. They all played softball and had a really good time. No politics, just softball.
Dr. Muirhead’s message involved fewer politics and more community involvement resulting in positive growth for everyone