Talk politics openly with others, expose yourself to fresh perspectives

Political debates don’t have to be yelling matches

By Kelsey Nevius
@kelnevs

With all the media coverage over politics lately, it’s no wonder that the question on everyone’s mind is “Who will be who will be running the country in the not-so-far future?” This battle between Democrats and Republicans has been one for the ages, and due to the upcoming election season, the battle will continue to intensify over the next few months. Everyone has a different view of politics, and politics are sometimes seen as an issue we don’t openly discuss because those discussions often lead to anger between parties and sometimes divides people more than it pulls them together. We all want what is best for our country, but we also have different views on how to make it better.

I myself am a Republican. I’ve never been much into politics, but I know what views I stand for and which I am against. Just the other day I was taking a quiz on ISideWith.com over which presidential candidate’s views are most similar to mine. I thought it was an interesting thing to do, taking a stance on questions that presidential candidates respond to, and seeing which one corresponds with my opinions. Knowing that I had to see my grandmother the next day, I knew the discussion would be aimed toward something controversial and thought-provoking. You see, my grandmother is a woman of very pronounced opinions- she likes to talk about these and other topics, including thoughts on religion, government, life, and anything else you can think of. She loves deep discussions, especially when she is on one side and I am on another. She relishes in these debates to see and hear what I think is the correct answer.

So, when we met at a restaurant, it wasn’t long before we talked about that age old question: should a Republican or a Democrat be the new president? And on either side, which candidate would be best suited? She and my grandfather are die-hard Democrats, while my brother and myself are all for Republicans. As we

debated back and forth, stating points and counterarguments and the like, a family with two young kids sat down a few booths away from us. We continued our debate, simply talking about what we thought was the best for our country and who we thought would do the best job at running it. When the family got up to leave, the mother approached us. She praised us for our debate, and was shocked that none of us were angry at the other for talking so openly about politics. She said that my brother and I were well-spoken and considerate of points we didn’t agree with, and she said that she hoped that one day, her children and family could talk so openly about something so controversial.

That made me think. While my brother and I were on one extreme and my grandparents on another, we could still sit in a restaurant and debate about politics without ever getting angry at one another or raising our voices. We could listen to each side of the story, find out why each person believed what he or she did on a particular topic, and debate openly over whether we believed the same. Differences among us only made us get more in to the discussion at hand. And then, being told we were a minority of a family who had divided beliefs but could still talk openly about it- that, to me, is something special.

Debating politics or any of the other touchy subjects shouldn’t be something we’re afraid of doing. At the end of the day, I gained a new perspective on the political race, and my grandparents did as well. And I think that is the way it should be. People shouldn’t get angry when someone believes differently from them and try to change their thinking to coincide with theirs. When someone has views that differ from mine, I always want to know more about why they think that way, and have a conversation with them to increase my own knowledge of the subject. So, when you come across someone with different political views than your own, try to have a conversation with them about it instead of getting inherently anger about the topic. You, or they, just might learn something.

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