Everywhere you look on social media, there's a long Twitter thread or Facebook rant focused on why someone's political view is the "correct" one. This is not to say that having a well-informed political viewpoint and being actively involved in local, state and national affairs is a bad thing or something to be ashamed of. But these past few years, society has moved from civil political conversation to an atmosphere of toxic debating, finger-pointing and name-calling. I'm getting tired of it.
When striking up a conversation or scrolling through social media, there are 25 things I'd rather hear about from you.
1. What kind of music you like
I'm always looking for music recommendations, and the kind of music you listen to says a lot about you.
2. Your dream job
A career path will take you farther in life than a "Share if you agree!" post.
3. How many dogs you have
Also: what breeds, how old, their names and can I pet them.
4. Where you've traveled to and/or lived
It's cool to see where people come from.
5. Which Robin Williams movie you think is the best
He was such a phenomenal actor that it's a true test to pick just one. "Dead Poets Society" is my favorite.
6. Whether you've read all the "Harry Potter" books, seen all the movies, both, or neither
I memorized the presidents in grade school and learned about politics in high school, but I've loved "Harry Potter" my whole life.
7. Embarrassing or nostalgic childhood stories
Life was better (and funnier) as a kid when you didn't even know what "fracking" meant.
8. If/how many times you've been pulled over for speeding
1. How fast were you going?
2. Did you ever cry/make up an excuse to get out of a ticket?
9. Your favorite books
You can't judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a person by what books they like.
10. If you like poetry
Just curious. Some people despise poetry, other people can't get enough.p[
11. Your birthday
Birthday party > political party.
12. If you play any instruments
I'm always extremely impressed by people who can play an instrument like it's second nature.
13. Your favorite color
Red or blue, I wanna know.
14. What TV shows you like to watch
"Parks and Recreation" marathon anyone?
15. If you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions
That's possibly life-saving information to know. Your views on the current president are not.
16. If you collect anything
Having a neat collection should be your default fun fact for syllabus week.
17. What your family is like
You always think your family is the craziest until someone else tells you about theirs.
18. If you've had Skyline Chili, and if you liked it
It's recently come to my attention that some people have never even heard of Skyline. Not sure how that's possible.
19. You're stranded on a deserted island with only three things. What three things would you choose?
I posed this question to someone once, and after confirming he could bring any three things he said he'd want a plane, a pilot and a book to read on the flight home. It's a great test of critical thinking skills.
20. Whether you prefer coffee or tea, warm or iced.
Iced tea, hot coffee, hot tea or iced coffee? Black coffee or add lots of cream? Your answer can say a lot about your personality and where you're from.
21. If you've seen "Stranger Things"
IT. IS. AMAZING.
22. Your favorite candy
Milk or dark chocolate? M&Ms or Skittles? Sour or sweet?
23. If you've ever met a famous person
Who?! How?! Where?!
And it's one thing to rant about a politician, but it's another thing to talk about meeting a politician face-to-face!
24. How you like your steaks (or whether you even eat steak, per #15).
If you say rare, I will cringe.
25. The experience or person you think most shaped you into who you are today.
Even if that person or experience somehow involves politics or a politician, there's so much more to your individual identity than how you vote.
Like I said, this article isn't meant to discourage people from voting or discuss their political views in an open and healthy manner. It's not meant to say politics aren't important. Politics are part of life, but (surprise!) there are other things to talk about, too.