It is really uncomfortable talking about politics these days. This single topic has the potential to separate life long friends and make for just truly uncomfortable situations. It is the subject we need to be talking about but most of us get so passionate about it the conversation becomes anything but constructive. I can think of no other topic myself that absolutely promises to become as emotional to this one. Honestly, I can’t tell if it is because we love politics or hate them that causes this to happen either.
Regardless of your political party alignment, if you have one, I think politics is something that does impact us all. It is a foundational freedom in our country granting us the liberty of how we want to be governed. It is our civic responsibility to care about politics. I also believe we have distorted what this actually means and how to manage it. We have let it consume us to the point emotions boil over and in our passionate rage we damage connections with each other through insults, bullying, screaming, arguing and more. Simply put we are not politically correct and we have taken politics too far.
I believe the fundamental cause of this disruption in our political responsibilities is we have lost the natural ability to discuss, collaborate and mutually agree in the pursuit of reaching common ground with each other. Simply put we’ve stopped caring what other people think.
It is easy to get wound up in our own ideas of right and wrong. We all have thoughts about how the government should work and how much authority it should have on our daily lives. When we are passionate about something it is easy to forget someone may see the situation differently. As a result, it is super easy to accuse them of being wrong and work vehemently to change their opinion. When they don’t we get louder and may even resort to name calling said in frustration for their shortsightedness. Yet when this happens we forget how to talk and listen in true meaning of conversation, debate and collaboration to find common ground. In other words, it gets personal.
How we choose to be governed and who represents our interests is important. Decisions made can be felt for generations to come having ramifications in our finances, safety, health and more! We hope those we elect will carry the burden of responsibility seriously and act with integrity and best interest of us all. We however never really know that about someone do we? There are numerous stories of scandal, personal and political agenda, and back door handshake deals that line pockets, abuse power and take advantage of us all. It can certainly shake faith in a system that is meant to promote justice, equality and the protection of our freedoms. It also however fuels our opinions and further inhibits the ability to talk about it in search of a solution.
I have become concerned if it is even possible to discuss openly differences of political opinion.
Can we have these tough yet important conversations in a way that honors, respects and considers something different than our own view? Can we accept, without bitterness and resentment, with interest in finding a way to move forward if the decisions made by the majority do not reflect our opinion? Neither of these are easy questions but necessary. Both questions ask us to do things that seem counterintuitive to being heard and having our opinion matter. Most importantly they challenge us to leave open a pathway among our passionate thoughts the opportunity to be influenced by something completely different. Possibly considering and even admitting occasionally that perhaps we were wrong. Gasp!
I am troubled by the reactions and behaviors going on because of our American politics. I am concerned about our nation where above all protecting our freedom and keeping ourselves safe should be our primary concerns. What troubles me most is our loss of being able to openly, candidly and respectively talk about these issues without riots, bullying and name calling.
It is not easy to hear someone out when we know the words they are saying go against what we believe is right or the answer. In honestly, I don’t know if there is a perfect answer or right solution sometimes. As in most things in life sometimes we have to just pick one and roll with it until we know more and can make a different decision or have better options. At the end of the day though the beauty of the American government system is every few years there is an election where we can make choices to change if we don’t like something. The other beauty is we all have a say in what that change is and our collective voices manifest that into reality.
I offer to you a couple considerations in how to change what is going on in our political landscape and how we are responding to it. We must improve our ability to communicate with one another on this sensitive topic. It is absolutely acceptable to have emotions and we should but we must always find a way to keep communication with others open. The path to finding common ground is mutual benefit and respect. I don’t know that we can ever change someone’s mind to our way of thinking if we are tearing them down for how they believe currently. We have to respect one another’s thoughts, beliefs, opinions and perspectives.
I believe it is also important that we breathe. As in we stop what we are doing, press pause and take a couple moments to simply breathe. Often when we move from a passionate high energy burst we are not aligning with our thoughts or heart. All we feel is a single thought, our words fly out fast and our body is in high alert mode. We feel rage and passion so intensely that we cannot hear anything but our own mind racing and feel our heart about to jump out of our chest. In that moment we are not in a place where anything will be heard, even by ourselves. If it is heard it will be hurtful, insulting, and offensive.
Given the importance of politics to our way of life in this country, I believe it is very important we discuss it. However, we have to discuss it in a way that allows us to hear and speak respectively in the interest of arriving at a common place. We may never agree and it may take a long time to find common ground but the willingness to pursue that is what will create the true changes in our country and communities. It starts with our own conversation with ourselves to dispel the rage and get down to how to express our views respectively in the interest of making our country great for everyone.
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