Stepping Out Of Character

I have a guilty little secret that I don’t share with too many friends, but I am going to admit it, as part of my personal evolution. I have little patience for people who don’t share the same political beliefs as me. It’s true. It’s why I won’t talk politics with people unless I am absolutely sure we are on the same page.

Now don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that I don’t care for, or even love, the person with the differing view. One of my son’s holds a differing view of politics, and we actually have very civil conversations. Of course, I am trying to sway him in my direction, and he is slowly making his way there, so that is progress. LOL, not that it really matters. I just find that it is really hard to hold civil conversations with people who are into politics as much as I am, unless we are on the same page.

The reason I feel guilty for my lack of patience is because I become a different person when I get into a heated political discussion. I get very frustrated and need to prove that I am right. And that is not who I AM.

Yesterday, I was on the one political website where I go to debate politics. I was in the middle of a debate with another poster, and we were finding some common ground, which was a good thing. However, the other poster got upset when I referred to him as “you guys” as if he were a part of a political party, when he, like myself, tends to vote for several different parties, depending on issues and the person running. His comment caught me off guard, and I started to think about his previous posts. He is fairly new there, so I don’t have a lot of history with him. There are definitely some posters who only identify with a party, and love their party over everything else,and so I had to re-evaluate and ask myself, has this guy been a party guy? I realized that I had judged him, and it made me feel shameful.

He took the conversation to a private message, and we hashed it out some more and shared a little bit more of our politics, and I remembered that at the other end of the debate was a human much like myself, who liked to talk politics and had found a safe, anonymous outlet for the discussion.

In the real world, I am not so quick to judge people who believe differently than me, because I know their stories, their backgrounds, the joys and pains. When we know the person, we are more respectful. Many, like me, won’t discuss politics because we want to maintain a good relationship with those who feel differently than we do. But when we are anonymous, and they are anonymous, that somehow opens a door that allows for some of the nasty comments to fly from our fingertips.

Yesterday, I was reminded to stick to the topic and keep from making generalizations about the people I debate. After all, they may step away from their computer and go help the homeless or head a charity drive.


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