Demoralizing, misdirecting, and misleading. These are just a few of the words I associate with the news media. I can choose to turn off the television and selectively watch the news. But what happens when people around you talk politics? Can you easily avoid and/or disengage from partaking in such diverting conversation? After watching the entertaining YouTube video by master of communication, Dan O’Connor, I’ve discovered the verbiage to do so. Why would I head off such diverting discussions? Here are my top five reasons:
5. I don’t see critical thinking in many political declarations.
I’m a Libra. I like logic (irony intended). I want to understand where sweeping claims come from. Another expansive statement is not satisfactory for me. I like to know and see/hear what was actually said and done. It’s easy to (mis)interpret news clips, and find whatever you want to find on the internet to ramp up hate and love for your political cause. Dragnet’s Joe Friday said, “Just the facts, Ma’am.” I like some evidence of critical thinking. But politics is less logical than personal. This brings me to my next points.
4. It’s so rarely a discussion.
More and more, the exchange of political views has become the expression of a singular opinion. When someone airs their political view, two things happen. People who agree with you join the bandwagon, and it becomes a love or hate fest about whatever you just brought up. If people have a question, let alone a different perspective on what you’ve expressed, it’s taken as a challenge, an affront, a criticism of you, personally. It’s not a dialogue. There is no curiosity to understand the viewpoints expressed, to talk, to listen, to understand, to learn.
3. It promotes blame and lack of accountability.
Ask not what you can do for your country, but complain about what your politician is doing to you. With politicians and presidents to blame for everything that is wrong in our country/world, I wonder if self loathing has decreased? Do we have any accountability in making our communities, our societies, a better place? Are we nurturing an attitude of dissatisfaction and a practice of complaining, rather than promoting peaceful action, and thoughtfulness?
2. Politics has become people’s identity.
It’s so ironic that in a society so adamant about not being labelled, we constantly label people. One’s political party now trumps (no political reference inferred) gender, religion, race, in discussions. We are no longer fully actualized human beings that embody an abundance of views and values. We are judged merely by our political affiliation. Don’t you want to know who I am? Doesn’t anyone care anymore about what I wear?
1. There are other more practical and positive ways to spend my life energy.
If political discussions lead to disputes, distress, and possibly even disconnection from friends, then I pass. I will, as Bruce Lee said, “be like water,” and flow the other way.
Bonus. Right now, it’s too divisive.
Do you talk politics in your social gatherings? Do you love/hate the news? Do you like being judged solely by your political affiliation?
Don’t tell me about it, I have a moratorium on political banter.
Check out Dan O’Connor’s video that inspired this post.
How to Get People to Stop Talking Politics
Here’s his blog with practical tips on keeping peace and perspective when it comes to conversations.