Did you watch the debate last night? I did. I felt like a lot of important issues were covered. I also felt that a lot of distracting was done by both candidates away from the issues that they didn’t want to discuss. One thing I wasn’t, was surprised. I suppose that if there’s one thing I’ve learned, this is how the game is played. Sad, but true.
But it got me thinking about another issue… the fact that so many of us, when we attempt to talk politics, play the exact same game. It seems that when it comes to discussing issues, we use the exact same tactics. Pick your subject.
1. Gay marriage
5. Whatever else you can think of
It seems that we employ many bad tactics when discussing politics, and it has caused a lot of loud people to rise to the top, and a lot of wise people to shut down. It seems that many political discussions today either end up being ineffective, or not had all. I probably fall into the latter category, choosing very rarely to express my political views.
Why? Because it seems that regardless of the issue, we only discuss the actual issue for a few seconds. Then, we go straight to attacking somebody’s character or discrediting them — either the source, or a person who is quoting the source. We hop around from subject to subject, never really staying on a single subject long enough to resolve it. We use bad logic and emotional arguments. The result: many of the most important subjects never get dealt with.
These days, there is something else that I see a surprising amount of — shunning. Somebody says something that another person doesn’t agree with, and rather than that person responding, he simply backs away and resorts to stonewalling. He texts his friends about what so-and-so said, and forms an alliance of people who agree with him behind the other person’s back. There is a sadly large amount of this going on today. Sad, not just because it hurts people, but because it seems that so few people are actually interested in the truth. Their philosophy is this: if you agree with me, we can be friends. If you don’t, let’s part ways. I wonder how it came to this.
I hear stories of my grandfather and his siblings discussing their political views with each other and with their friends, sometimes in very heated and passionate bouts, and sometimes until the wee hours of the morn. I hear about how they weren’t so afraid to delve into the matters that they were passionate about, and didn’t shy away for fear of being shunned. They actually charged into these things unabashedly.I also hear that they remained friends afterwards, and were able to go back to living, even with people who didn’t see eye-to-eye with them. I think that was healthy, and that it’s something America has largely lost.
It also seems to be something that we no longer encourage, or coach our younger generations to do. Maybe, for political gain, the media capitalizes too much on using people to further its own causes, and it’s not really in our politicians’ best interest to have a country that is interested in pursuing the truth, or discussing important matters openly. Who knows.
I do know that I, as well as many of my Christian friends, have tons of strong opinions that we are simply too afraid to speak up about, and many of us never will… simply because we know we won’t be heard. We know we’ll be shut down. We’ll be alienated, simply for stating our views — at work, in public, among our friends. Even at church.
I would love to see a bit more tolerance, and a bit more use of good discussing/debating techniques — not just arguing for the sake of winning, but talking about important matters for the sake of hearing each other, and of course… uncovering the truth. Doesn’t that still matter? Let’s quit shutting each other down who don’t agree with us. Let’s quit employing fallible tactics that win us the battle, but lose us the war — depriving us from knowing how to be happy, independant from having the same viewpoint as everybody else.
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