Spout your political opinions, your religious views, hand out flyers, wear t-shirts! Do it ALL!
Because you (yes, YOU) have forgotten how to listen to someone with differing views. Don’t even try with the excuses, I don’t want to hear it. I see what you call people on the other side of the argument; idiots, brainwashed, Hitler, socialists, sinners, and on and on and on. You know what that means? That means you aren’t LISTENING.
And then go out and do it with your friends. There is an art to arguing, and we have lost it. Here are some handy tips;
Don’t drop conversation nukes: You know the ones, it’s when people start using phrases to which there is no logical comeback because it is so completely inane. Here’s an example;
“I am going to vote for Obama.”
“You’re a socialist.”
I mean, WHAT THE FUCK do you say to that? It would take an hour to explain political theory an American history to explain why that term is overused and misunderstood. Try this;
“I’m going to vote for Obama.”
“I resent his overreach of government powers, so he’s not for me.”
“Cool. Want a coffee?”
See how different that is? Stop using words like “stupid”, “unamerican”, “deranged”, “asshat” to describe anyone who holds a different views.
You can vote based on religion, but never assume anyone shares your faith or vision, and don’t insist your deity is the ONE TRUE deity. Always leave room for doubt, respect those that don’t believe. Know the difference between science and belief, and never, ever tell someone they are going to your version of hell. You sound like a pompous asshat.
Don’t assume your beliefs/view need to be everyone else’s beliefs/views. One of my favorite lines in the abortion debate is this; “Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one.” To me it really is that simple. Don’t believe in something? Then don’t do it, and don’t assume everyone else shouldn’t either. I respect pro-lifers who simply understand this simple line. You (nor your party or religion) is the curator of morals and good taste. Don’t try to act like it.
Don’t bring the kids into it. WON’T SOMEONE THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN? Wait…what? No matter the taxes, social issue, government program it is always the kids who get dragged into it. Look, my 11-year-old just learned to quit picking his nose, he doesn’t give a damn about healthcare. That’s my job to worry about it. Assume if I believe or argue for something, I have already put my children in the equation.
It’s time to learn to argue again. Have a point of view or opinion that’s different than mine? Then by all means, let me hear it -let’s talk about it. I promise not to hate you, think less of you, or ruin a good time talking about politics or religion.
Here’s a little peek into my personality. I was recently asked (when I was have my umpteenth argument with someone) why I even bothered. Because, I said, you will stand toe to toe with me and argue. I have mad respect for that, especially when the argument is a personal one and my temper is engaged. Your friends may be the ones that laugh with you, but my friends? They are the ones that argue with me.
(I know there’s a follow up post to this about knowing when it is time to stop arguing, when enough is enough, but this political season I really want to see more arguing.)