Politics: ways to engage
Political discussions are often hard to avoid nowadays, as modern political polarization grows more fierce and lines between political parties become further drawn in the sand. Our opinions of these matters become far more evident as we mature and gain a better understanding of the world around us. With further political engagemen
t comes discussions, discussions which in today’s world often devolve into fierce arguments and mud slinging, ending in screaming “You’re just wrong” and refusing to talk after. However, there are always much more constructive ways to engage in politics, and to do it is actually fairly simple, requiring far less verbal bloodshed.
The first item to remember is one that should be remembered in most situations: respect the opinions of everyone you’re discussing with. While this is fairly simple to state, in today’s world it has proven to be incredibly difficult due to the further separation of our political parties. The opposing party is in no way our enemy; they are Americans just like us. We are allies who may view the world differently, but we can still openly talk and work with one another. Something as simple as saying “I respect your opinion on this matter, but I have to disagree with you” could make any situation much more cordial than most. It may be difficult to say so when someone’s opinions differentiate so much from your own, but often it is necessary.
There is no shame in admitting that you do not know certain portions of the topic you are discussing, or even any shame in admitting that you are wrong. We are human beings and we make a ton of mistakes, especially in regards to politics, and especially so when these discussions make us angry. Being stubborn and refusing to admit when the point you have is incorrect is one of the many factors driving this country apart, as people have often embraced incorrect facts and misinformation to back up their claims, even in the face of the truth. Know when to back down, because continuing to supplement your ego instead of showing humility can be dangerous.
The key aspect to remember is that oftentimes the one you are engaging in political discussion with will be your friends, as it is unrealistic to think that all of your friends will think exactly the same as you. In the same vein as this, you should not lose friends based upon their opinions. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is a recipe for disaster, as that only serves to polarize this country further as you stay within your own bubble. It can make you ignorant and intolerant of other ideas, making you incapable of even engaging in ordinary political discussion.
Political discussion has become far more common due to how involved politics has become in modern life, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Being more informed and willing to engage in the political process is good for our society, but we have to do it respectfully in order to not divide our society instead. Politics is a volatile thing, and we should do whatever we must to keep it cordial.