The political season is upon us, if you aren’t aware through the many ads seen on televeision or the updates on the news. Too many people, unfortunately, are apolitical and will not even vote. Another large group of the population will vote for the party they have always supported, without fully learning the issues of the present election. And then there is the group that will be in your face about their beliefs, trying to convince you to change your own positions on the issues. These are the people this blog addresses.
I come across these people quite regularly on a political website I have been a member of for years. On occasion, one might say I can be that same way. I don’t tend to speak politics unless it is with like-minded people, and so that website offers me a chance to learn and grow in my understanding of politics. As dry as that may sound. lol
This is what I have learned in the process of these debates with others who take the opposite positions from me in politics: 1) I cannot change their opinion by arguing with them, 2) they cannot change my opinion by arguing with me, and 3) if I can step back from my own personally held belief (in confidence) and just give a little to their side of the argument, we can start to make progress that is healthy and not full of anger or ridicule.
I have learned that I am not purely a liberal. I like fiscal responsibility. That is common ground that I have with many conservatives. Our difference is that I am socially liberal, and I feel that many of the social systems we have set up are designed to help the elderly, women, children, and the poor. I am not willing to get rid of those safety nets. And so, to be fiscally conservative, I feel we need to pay for those services. And I see higher taxes for better services the way to do that. People pay extra money for services to live in gated communities. People pay extra money for services to live in townhouse and condominium developments. People pay extra money for services not covered in their standard health care plans. I can’t see why this is so different. Mandated? Well, you are getting better service, so good on you if you need it, as so many people have in the past few years.
That being said, I have learned to share my common concern of a huge deficit and debt with those who I tend to not agree with on other issues. I have learned to share my common concern of too much money being spent on foreign lands because of wars and protection of interests. I try to find a common ground with posters who feel strongly that we disagree on every issue because I am a self-professed liberal while they are professed conservatives. Interestingly, I find some of them taking rather liberal views, when I agree with them. I can always tell the people who don’t pay close attention to politics when they disagree with me simply because they think everything I say is liberal. I have to admit it gives me a bit of a kick to say to them that they have just supported a liberal issue. You should see them back off their statement! I’ve learned those kind of politics fall more into the “your either this party or that party” thinking and don’t require any real thinking on their behalf.
Here is my advice to anyone engaging in political discourse: if the person you are talking with holds a different political viewpoint than you, instead of arguing the point (no one is changing either person’s mind), find some common ground, and in that common ground, you can each be thankful for the freedom we still enjoy to express our political opinions.