Can we even discuss politics anymore?

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Jordan Helmbrecht

More stories from Jordan Helmbrecht

Q&A with ITS CEO Fritz Byam
September 27, 2019

In this day and age, politics have become quite the rage. Everyone has many opinions, and everyone is very defensive when it comes to their opinions. If we’re lucky, sometimes we can agree with one another on a certain topic; however, that mutual agreement has become rare.

Politics have become a very sensitive topic of conversation in recent times. What once was a common affair to discuss is now purposely avoided. But why? People disagree all of the time—they always have. So why has political conversation become so avoided now?

Well, maybe it’s a combination of things. Maybe it’s the softening of our society; maybe it’s the faltering of politics as a whole. But for some reason, politics have switched from a common discussion to a discussion that could cause fights or even destroy relationships. 

It is rooted in how passionate all we are about our opinions. Each of us—and yes I mean each of us, we are all guilty—are extremely devoted to our opinions. Especially in politics, we find ourselves not even opening up space in our minds to consider another’s opinion; we are too emotionally bound to what we believe.

What does it even mean to be emotionally bound to an opinion? It’s not like an opinion is an object or person. However, an opinion is something we generate within ourselves based on our outside observations. We create these opinions ourselves, so they are what we truly believe; therefore, it would only make sense that we would be emotionally attached to them. Behind each of our opinions is an emotion, and this emotion can be affected when another opinion tries to threaten it. 

Usually, whenever an argument or debate becomes heated, members tend to shy away. Their emotional connection to their opinion is being challenged, and these days people don’t want to face the possibility of being proved wrong. 

Sometimes, we enjoy getting involved in small arguments or debates. Basically, we like expressing our opinion without getting too much push back—just a little challenge. However, whenever politics waltzes into the conversation, both parties instantly slip away. 

This goes a little deeper than just an emotional connection. Politics in our generation have changed quite a bit from previous generations; we are living in a different world. And with this evolution comes adaptations, adaptations of a variety of opinions. Many controversies in this age of politics lie on utterly opposite sides. More drama has entered the world of politics, and therefore more varied opinions have followed. If you don’t agree with one opinion, you’re probably on the completely other side.

Politics are important. They are an essential element of our society, and it is important we escape this current state of wondering if we can even talk about politics anymore.”

This then creates a fear within us to even have political conversations, especially with our friends. Political opinions are not only emotional, but quite controversial—it’s the conflict people would prefer to avoid. These discussions pose the threat of disaster, so people think it is best to avoid them.

Behind closed doors, people will express all of the political opinions they have, but when those doors open, jaws are immediately slammed shut. Politics force us to face the differences between each other, the important and often moral differences: should Trump—our president—be impeached? Is it okay for the government to kill people under the following circumstances…? Should the better off be expected to pay higher taxes?

We are forced to discuss issues that have extreme value in the world, and it is just something our generation doesn’t want to do. People have become too sensitive to others, too sensitive to face controversial conversations that matter, and too sensitive to the idea of being wrong.

Everyone’s political opinions simply differ too greatly. They vary depending on what we hear and what we see. We all interpret things differently than each other. This means that political conversations tend to become an on-going argument that neither side will ever compromise on. However, that doesn’t mean they should be completely avoided.

If we suppress all of our political opinions, what will happen to the political world as a whole? Each of us plays an important role in shaping politics. Our opinions and our debates, they move towards something. If we simply ignore the conversation, nothing will be able to change. Politics will be left to the government to solve. We need each other in order to challenge ourselves, force our opinions out, bring out our passion.

No matter what we think, we all have our own role in the world of politics. Our political debates, even between our friends, are important. No political argument is worth ending a friendship over, but no political argument is worth entirely avoiding.

So, a new balance is needed. People need to be less soft, less sensitive. We need to be able to discuss our political opinions, yet we also need to do so without letting our emotions take us completely over. We need to bring our passion to debate but not our hatred. 

Politics are important. They are an essential element of our society, and it is important we escape this current state of wondering if we can even talk about politics anymore. We have become too delicate to discuss the things that really matter. We are scared to bring up the political issues that matter most.

If people can avoid an argument, they will, and it’s as simple as that. We don’t want to propose unnecessary stress on one another. We are afraid to see where political conversations will take us, who they will make us become.

But in the end, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. When we reach the end of the day, two people with differing political opinions are just two people. Neither of them are completely right, neither of them are completely wrong.  

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