I am not the kind of person who offers up politics as a conversation starter. Firstly, I rarely feel informed enough to argue a point in politics. Secondly, I tend to see that both sides have valid points but this tends to annoy people. Thirdly, I am a peace-keeper and politics have a way of disturbing the peace.
Politics-talk seems to be more concerned with screaming that you’re wrong and I’m right, rather than trying to find a solution for a problem. Politics-talk seems to never have a solution but is rather a never-ending debate on ideologies. It’s heavy, deep, at times polarising, and frustrating. I confess, I’m a politics-avoider. However, should we avoid politics constantly? Should we talk politics?
When my family and I went back to the States for Christmas to spend time with family, my parents implored us to please don’t bring up anything political. We avoided politics like the plague. We were here for family and that was it. It was surprisingly easy to do so. In one sense it was wonderful to just be with family and to not have those intense debates. At the same time, it felt uneasy as if people were just swallowing tension only to throw it up later on. It did not feel healthy.
I left America’s political storm into Britain’s own political storm. I have learned that I am not that informed. I’m not sure how informed I can be without understanding where people come from and why. I don’t understand much of it. I would like to understand. I would like to hear people’s opinions but it seems like everyone is put off by it.
I can’t help thinking that it was the way we talk politics more than the actual politics. Politics involve important issues. They involve us thinking of morality, ideologies, our beliefs and I believe that it is important that we discuss these things. The problem is our discourse. We all need lessons in political discourse. We all need lessons in what is acceptable and what is not. We need lessons in humility and realising when a discussion is helpful and when it is not. We will argue if we keep on pushing our own political opinion and disregard another’s political opinion. We shouldn’t put up with violent discourse against politicians or people on the right or the left; even when we disagree with these politicians and even when our friends are the ones who are saying these things. We won’t be able to civilly talk politics until we get our own plank out from our eyes.
How this idealism can translate to real life, I have no idea yet. I’ve been trying to practice slowly. Ask people individually who and what party they vote for and why? What issues are important to them and why? Try to be informed with what’s going on and how that may affect me. Also know when to stop, when to quit looking at the news, to gently put a stop to a discussion. Maybe that will work. Maybe that will not work. What do you think? Should we talk politics?