Meaningful political discussions

Many of us have had those political discussions on social media where insults and threats fly and ultimately end with a click of the “unfriend” button. If people don’t like what you have to say, they’ll get offended and attack you personally. This type of unproductive political conversation not only happens online, but face-to-face as well.

Political discourse can be effective when done properly. However, it becomes ineffective when yelling is involved or a person is not listening to the other person’s perspective. Many friendships are harmed or even ended over political talk. Arguments get heated and sometimes lead to personal attacks when frustration sets in and tempers flare.

There is a lot of division among Americans today. Many people believe that if a person is pro-police then they are anti-black and vice versa. Many also believe that if you are anti-Islamic terror then you hate all Muslims. Not everything is black and white and some issues are far more complex than they may seem. During arguments, many will jump to conclusions about a person and their views without hearing the whole story. Generalizations can be harmful, especially in political conversation.

This one-sided thinking is largely the fault of politically biased news. There is almost nowhere to go for neutral political coverage. We have either very conservative or very liberal news organizations. People consume the news that best fits with their ideology and ignore the other sides of issues. When a person only hears what they want to hear on a daily basis, it is very challenging to have a logical discussion with them.

Since the news is largely either conservative or liberal, people should get their news from a variety of sources. Many news organizations put their own spin on issues, so it is important to filter through the information presented and to take everything with a grain of salt. When a person is presented with many sides of a story, they are able to get a clearer understanding of what really happened.

We need to engage in more meaningful and civil political discussions. That isn’t to say that a person can’t be passionate when discussing politics. Rather, a person should not resort to yelling or name-calling when others don’t see their side of an issue. All sides of an issue need to be heard, and then a person can form their own opinion based on the evidence presented.

The next time someone wants to refute what you have said about an issue, present your ideas clearly and knowledgeably and understand the other person’s perspective. Not everyone has the same background as you. and they might have acquired their news from a different source. It is important to stay civil and still convey your ideas effectively.

It might seem impossible to keep your composure during an impassioned argument on politics. However, it is possible and will make your message resonate with the other person so much more.