I am a devoted fan of the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team. As an undergraduate student at Carolina, I developed, like many of my peers, a deep hatred for the Duke University men’s basketball team. Known as the “Tobacco Road Rivalry”, athletes, students, and fans around the world have such a strong desire to beat the other team during annual matchups that books and documentaries have been produced on the subject. Regardless of the team’s ability to win, fans cheer for their beloved team, quickly dismissing the talent of the other.
Much like the Tobacco Road Rivalry, many educators and students share deep favoritism for political parties. In perhaps one of the most heated and controversial presidential elections of our time, just the mention of politics and policy can ignite an untempered passion in many. As a nursing educator charged with the task of teaching a class on health policy and advocacy the week after the presidential election, I faced a major challenge. I struggled with how I could channel the political energy and passion of my students—regardless of their “team affiliation”—to produce a learning environment where health policy came to life and provided an opportunity for active experimentation and reflection.