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The Face of The Enemy…Why I Avoid Political Discussions.

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I don’t talk about politics that much ’cause no good would come of it. Either it would cause fights or I would have to debate some intolerant jackass who I’ll picture flushed and with eyes bulging out…on the brink of a heart attack.

I’m not saying the “other side” is filled with intolerant jackasses. No, all sides are filled with intolerant jackasses–that’s why I know that no good will come of it. No matter what my opinion would be, someone would accuse me of being, um, something.

It seems obvious that someone can disagree with me (or most anyone else) and have the best intentions in mind. I try to remember that. I hope that the person who disagrees with me also keeps that in mind, but more often that not these discussions become an effort to vilify the opposing viewpoint.

If you look at the Terri Schiavo case, and believe all the screaming that was the result, you would think that there were two camps–those who wanted to murder her and those who wanted to prolong her suffering. Of course, the truth is that people on both sides for the most part came to their belief based on what they considered to be the best decision.

All political parties are filled with people who chose their party based on what they felt was best. Sure, there are villains, opportunists, and people with severe chemical imbalances, but for the most part people choose their infiliations based on what they believe to be right.

I took a quiz recently and I expected it to show me to be pretty liberal. What a surprise…I’m, for the most part, middle of the road. I’m actually rather conservative on crime and the only area where I skew really liberal is the environment. Every one of my beliefs is based on what I feel to be best. I can only guess that those people who want to rape the land feel they’re right also. (Just checking to see if you’re paying attention.)

The truth is that I don’t want to argue with someone who goes into it thinking I’m either idiotic or evil, but it sometimes seems like this is the only stance from which many people debate an issue.

There is a (dated) song from the 80s which comes to mind:


Written by Sting [& Sergei Prokofiev!]

In Europe and America there’s a growing feeling of hysteria
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets
Mister Krushchev said, ‘We will bury you’
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
It’d be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too

How can I save my little boy
From Oppenheimer’s deadly toy?
There is no monopoly on common sense
On either side of the political fence

We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

There is no historical precedent to put
Words in the mouth of the president
There’s no such thing as a winnable war
It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore
Mister Reagan says ‘We will protect you’
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me and you
Is if the Russians love their children too

And is there a reason to believe the other side doesn’t love there children too–other than the historical fact that it’s always been easier to go for the throat if you don’t have to look someone in the eye and see they are much like you?

The reason why people have trouble with that is how called “hate speech” is because words that deny another person’s humanity can start the process with ends in taking away their rights, their dignity, and even their very lives.

For the record, I firmly support free speech, but I think we need to accept responsibility for the words we choose. Too often when political debates occur the words become unnecessarily ugly. They are words that, when calm, we’d never want to claim as our own. And that’s why I rarely discuss politics.

Religion? The same things apply…I’m just not aways smart enough to leave that one alone.

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About Nicolette

  • Lightning

    What you say is true. I would go so far as to call it respect.

    If you don’t have a relationship with somebody and really know them, how can you judge their character based upon the stance of a certain political view? Why would we want to label people based upon our skewed judgements?

    The answer as I see it comes down to respecting our fellow man.

    Idealy I would think that it could be possible to have a political discussion with somebody if you know them well enough to not cross what would be that persons line of respect on the topic. It’s normally when the line of respect is crossed that it becomes an all out name calling fest.

    That doesn’t build anybody up, and destroys relationships or chances for relationships in the cases where you don’t actually know the person.

    That’s not to say you can’t disagree or debate. But don’t cross the line of respect.

    Just my thoughts…

  • Nicolette Rivers

    You’re right, John. It is about respect.

    I think one of the big learning experiences in anyone’s life is to have a relationship with someone who has a different viewpoint, and yet who you know to be a caring, compassionate, and intelligent person.