Do’s and Dont’s of Political Conversation

Selaney Yancey, Junior Editor

What does your mom always say not to bring up at Thanksgiving? What makes the room go tense? What blankets news sources with the latest updates from campaigns to accusations? It is politics. Whether you involve yourself heavily or avoid at all costs, it is a subject that surrounds you and at some point you will have to discuss. But do not fret! You don’t have to have a discussion full of yelling and slander! Here are some tips to political discussion: the right way.

1.Keep an open mind.

The most common mistake I would say is going into a discussion where two sides are presented and before anything is ever said, already having your opinions solidified with no intent of even listening to the other side. This immediate stubbornness of refusing to even hear another perspective leads to a stand still and a waste of time for both parties. By going into a debate with an open mind, you are allowing yourself to be exposed to thoughts and ideas you may have never realized you had a connection or an agreement with, making you a more diverse individual and a respectful listener.

2. Do not stoop to insults.

It is very easy for politics to get personal and a rush of emotions. People are passionate about their own issues they hold dear and anger can stem from this. Yet, when anger enters a conversation, it is no longer a valid debate, but is now an argument. When you have emotionally driven evidence, you cannot stoop to name calling, belittling, or anything that has the intent to hurt feelings out of the heat of the moment. Calling someone an idiot or making jokes at the expense of another human does not make your cause more sympathetic. BE an adult, DON’T get personal.

3. Be educated.

When you enter a political discussion, you should have an idea of what you are willing to discuss. Educated does not mean word vomit from what you have heard your parents say or an empty statement with no support behind it. By be willing to approach a topic, you are expected to know why you hold that belief, and to have valid information to hold up your argument. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” and allow yourself to learn rather than walk on a the tightrope of knowledge you possess. Know that opinions are not facts and ignorance is never a good thing.

4.  We are all human- agree to disagree.

Even if you have the most polite debate on a topic, people remain people and sometimes it is best to leave things unended. Trying to have the last word is exhausting and rarely rewarding. The most noble thing a person can do through any political discussion is remember that aside from what party you associate with or what you hold true, we are all human. No matter what, we have to respect others before expecting respect back. When in doubt, end the debate with a hug and go about discussing where to go eat for dinner. The golden rule stays golden for a reason.