3 Better Ways To Discuss Politics

Whether our next president was going to be the first woman or the first billionaire, we all knew history would be made.

Even before this campaign, I’ve been reevaluating my politics and social media for some time. To establish some equilibrium, I’ve given myself some ground rules when discussing politics that include these three things…

1. Beware the blade that cuts both ways.

Authentic tolerance is a two-way street.

In politics it is important to clarify what is being discussed – personal opinion, a definition of morality or government’s right to enforce. These are not the same things. I can immediately think of topics I would have different conversations about, based on which one was being discussed.

Government interference is sometimes necessary, which is why it exists. However, when debating policy, I try to consider how it would feel if the shoe were on the other foot. Since administrations change at least every 4-8 eight years, eventually it is.

Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery,
I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
-Abraham Lincoln
 

2. Don’t let anyone speak for everyone.

One main reason peace is so difficult is individuals will always try to speak for groups.
 
I cannot speak for my entire gender, race, belief system or political party – and neither can anyone else. Many claim to, but voting results reflect otherwise because these are broad demographics, representing many different people and ideas.
 
Sadly, someone will always pit one group against another for some kind of profit or power, while camera lenses focus us on whatever percentage is causing a stir. If we’re not careful, we’ll start assuming about people as groups instead of learning about them as individuals.

If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed.
If you do read it, you’re misinformed.
 -Denzel Washington

3. Bad methods ruin a good message. 

It’s easy to make someone look bad, but it’s difficult to help them see well.

Social media has certainly provided us with ample sources of scathing things to re-post without actually having to say them ourselves. But If we want to make a difference in the world and respect our relationships, how we say what needs to be said is really important.

Insulting people does not work if your objective is to persuade…

You know what happens when you’re insulted?
You become even more dogmatic in holding your 
incorrect belief than you were before you were insulted.
– Trey Gowdy

I know we don’t always have the choices we want. I had lost so much confidence in politics, I was almost to the point of not voting anymore. Someone shared something they heard in a sermon for those who felt the way I did. The point was that if we stop participating, leaders will stop factoring us in altogether, assuming we just won’t participate. I hadn’t really thought of that before.

There’s a time to speak and a time to be silent (Ecc. 3:7), but politics shouldn’t be something we never talk about. Elections are important. Somebody is certainly paying attention to them and creating the rules we all have to live by, with or without our participation.

I want to be realistic and reasonable. I want to remember the truth often lies between two extremes. I don’t want to be manipulated into fighting, so when it’s time to talk politics, I will be respectful.

Darkness can’t drive out darkness; 
only light can do that.
Hate can’t drive out hate; 
only love can do that.
-Martin Luther King Jr.
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