I read an interesting article today. You can read it here. It’s from a Christian perspective, but I think it is applicable to everyone. In a nutshell it is a list of 7 questions to ask yourself before you speak, post, tweet, or send anything about politics.
I think it is great advice. I have seen people projectile vomit misinformation and anger with great passion when it comes to politics, only to end up turning people away from their point of view. Even when they are right the wrong attitude can be a turn off for people. Who wants to listen to a know it all, or an erupting fountain of anger, or a condescending jerk who is convinced they are right all the time?
As a society I think we have lost the art of the pause. You know, that pause you take before reacting to everything? The one you have when you just feel so angry about a topic that you know if you don’t pause you will explode? No? Hmmm… Perhaps I am wrong, maybe we never had the pause to begin with.
I think we need one. In this time of instant news where all the networks are fighting to be the first or exclusive ones with the happenings of the day it is easy to take the first thing you hear and run with it, regardless of the truth. It would help so much if we would research the facts from all sides before we spoke about a topic. If we thought of what we want to say and considered if it is original or necessary. If we thought about if it really needed to be us who said it. If we can say it in a manner that is loving, kind, and thoughtful. If we can wait a day and see if it is still relevant when our emotions are not running high.
And in talking about politics with people who do not agree with you, please remember that they have reasons for their opinions. Most likely very few are the hateful monsters you have been led to believe they are. Try to find out why they have the views they do. Perhaps their reasons are valid. Perhaps they have been led astray by an inaccurate news report or too many conspiracy theories. And above all, remember that they are human. Even if you do not agree on something they are a still human being.
They still have the same basic needs and wants that you do – love, respect, safety, joy, happiness, shelter, dreams, hope. They may have a different theory on how to achieve it, but that doesn’t mean it is acceptable to behave in a rude manner towards them. They still go home and worry about mortgage payments or rent, kiss their pets or kids, wash dishes, vacuum, and dream of a better place and time in the future. See them as human beings instead of political foes.
So here I promise to follow those 7 steps before I post anything about politics. Not that I plan on doing that often, if at all. So hold me accountable to this promise. Use the comment section or the contact page.
Remember what Groucho Marx said about politics…
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies”
And really, is a friendship worth that “art”?