Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How To Talk About Politics And Other Big Issues

   In my opinion one of the greatest joys of college is the fact that you’re allowed to start talking like an adult, what-with the big words and the highfalutin concepts being tossed about the room like confetti at an astronaut parade ... or the time you surprised your folks by letting them know you applies to clown college. Either way, the parallel stands.

A chilling memory, to be sure

One of the pit traps you will encounter is the dreaded "POLITICAL DEBATE." Allow me to set the stage here on this Donkey and Elephant riddled nightmare-show so I might guide you through the dark by-ways of words so you can escape either a) saying the WRONG thing or, b) making an enemy of your Poli-Sci prof who was chilling in the lobby and overheard you and some pack of "youths." 

Scenario ----

Cool College Guy: Man, did you hear about [trendy new law] that is up for debate in the Senate?

You: AWH, WHAT? There go the morons in power again, always running [insert fun and/or topical thing you believe in].

Cool College Guy: How dare you disrespect my beloved [party and/or political ideal].

You: Pistols at dawn!

Cool College Guy: Agreed!

***So, your college debates with kids in lobbies might go differently from this, but the idea stands. You'll openly disparage the views of others and get challenged to pistols. Or Mario-Kart, I don't know, the states vary so much now. 

The biggest issue with debates about politics is that directly tied to another person's self worth, their family, or their views on who they feel they are in the community. In (almost) no way will you ever, EVER change somebodies views about their party. Even if that person thinks that JFK was a space alien who feasted on the brains of communists.

JFK's true form. True story.
Politics represent the way we, as a people, interact with our society as a group. Like that time you totally lied and said your name was Trey to fit in with a group of kids who beat up people with names that started with the letter B (your name was Brian) and partied hard with kids whose name started with a T? Yea, people want to fit in and they want to be on the right side of an issue they feel is important.

DON'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM PEOPLE. I know, I know, you secretly know that Benedict Arnold was a vampire and all Republicans really are awesome Hunters who dedicate their lives to striking down the blight of the American Cain. The point is, not everyone will agree with you.

That is OK. Seriously. People are allowed to disagree with you.

Lincoln - statesman, lawyer, bad-mama-jamma. Represent. 

So long as you respect the opinions of others, politely "agree to disagree," and smile and nod, you'll do fine. If something gets you so worked up that you become a raving nutter, well, you shouldn't have been discussing it in a college lobby anyway. Or anywhere else. 

Respect the opinions of others and invite criticism. If your view can't handle some arguments in a public forum, you likely are either not fully studied up on the subject (in which case, study up, you're in a college!) or you need to just admit that you might get "uppity" when the topic comes up.

Just communicate, be polite, and smile. Seriously.

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