Musings

How to survive talking about politics

Election Day isn’t too far away. People mostly care about the presidential race, but please remember that there are other local elections that are very important and can have a bigger impact on your life than who is president.

Since politics can get quite heated, I’ve listed ten things that will help you survive talking about politics.

  1. Understand that other people will disagree with you. And also understand that their view points may be uninformed, unintelligent, or just plain wrong. It’s okay.
  2. Try to be informed as possible before you speak up and if you don’t know something, admit it to yourself and others. Try to share information instead of overarching opinion without backup.
  3. Stand up for morals, ethics, and honesty–never allow your core beliefs to be compromised.
  4. Sometimes, be silent. When someone just fundamentally disagrees with you or just blatantly ignores facts, there is no arguing with them. So be silent. Allow them to think what they want and move on to more productive uses of your time.
  5. Be a diligent seeker of truth. Realize that you probably believe many things which are untrue. So learn more. Read books and articles and talk to people who are willing to share what they know and believe in a respectful way.
  6. Sometimes you need to admit you are wrong and be willing to change your viewpoints–that’s okay. You’re learning. And, frankly, there may be more than one right solution to a problem.
  7. Never enter an argument where your main desire is to convince someone else that they’re wrong. You’ve already failed. Conversation should be more about sharing, verifying facts, and learning from each other. If you get angry or emotional, leave the conversation, especially if the other person disagrees with you and is angry and emotional as well.
  8. You can fact-check. We have this thing called the internet. Do it.
  9. You can be friends with people who hold radically different political opinions than you. And we should all simply be kind to one another, always. Never, ever personally attack anyone. Even if they are horrible.
  10. Seek to understand someone before you seek to declare what you think. A subtle question is more powerful than a long, emotional rant.

(Wouldn’t it be awesome if politicians actually followed those ten things??)

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