Talking politics shouldn’t be toxic

Von Lanier

I like to consider myself a learner when it comes to politics. There are issues I feel conservatively about but I mostly come from a liberal standpoint. This is an extremely hard position to be in during a time of extreme polarization and when both political parties are literally at each other’s throats over various issues.

This extreme polarization poses a threat to the American way of life and corrodes the idea of a free-thinking society. Voters on both sides are being labeled for what party they identify with rather than their independent beliefs.

Statements like “You voted for Trump so you’re a racist,” or “You wanted Bernie Sanders to win so you’re a snowflake,” are prime examples of how difficult it is to think independently without fear of being labeled by the extremists on both sides.

Civility needs to be brought back to politics at the level of the constituency because at the end of the day, by voting, we are all doing our civic duty and trying to create a better world for ourselves through the people we elect.

Furthermore, a true pluralistic society requires each politically conscious individual to have a holistic way of thinking. We may not like the results but we have to live with them and do what we can to make the situation work for the continual success of American democracy.

For me, politics have always been a messy state of affairs so I avoid directly aligning myself with a single party. I understand that values of both parties have shifted over the years and I try my hardest to take both sides into consideration when it comes to issues that matter most to each. I also take everything that comes from the DNC as well as the GOP with a grain of salt.

Though unyielding in what drives me morally, I understand I have to be willing to compromise and think realistically about issues that affect everyone.

Consider the people who had to vote in secret because they couldn’t share their support of Trump with some of their closest friends. The constant belittling of a person for their political affiliation is enough to make anyone want to vote secretly.

Without respectful forms of political discourse, the whole purpose of a political debate goes out the window. Whether on a stage or in a bar, we need to bring back being able to openly discuss politics with neighbors and even strangers.

Today, a simple conversation about a certain policy or executive order can escalate a mere public dispute into an all-out brawl.

This is the society we are quickly turning into—where family members despise each other and friends fall out—and we need to get back to having thought-provoking arguments rather than counterintuitive ones.

Ultimately, we should all be able to just agree to disagree on some things because lambasting people on social media because of who they voted for changes nothing.

Whether you are on the far left or the far right, we can all find some sort of common ground even if it’s just on a singular issue.