There's no denying that politics is not suitable dinner conversation. You start talking about the weather, and the next thing you know someone is flying off the handle about global warming and listing facts supporting their cause. I have been one to claim that "I never talk about politics" because it almost always ends badly. The shame, however, is that this convention extends beyond the dinner table.
Having healthy debates about the state of our country and beyond is paramount in order for us to stay informed, grow and expand upon our views. Someone may enlighten you about a topic or a bit of information you did not know before, and it might just change your perspective - a perspective that perhaps needs changing.
It is easy to see why people take a hands-off approach to politics considering the vehement back and forth bickering that can ensue between not only us, the little guys here at the bottom, but the party leaders themselves. We may not be qualified to make informed statements about gun control, poverty or women's rights admitting "I don't know enough about it," which leads us to bury our opinions. This is extremely stiffing, and it amounts to a lack of involvement and more importantly, a loss of voice.
Every voice counts. Always. A sonic boom has a greater effect than a ripple in the water, and we should never shy away from expressing our most valued standpoints in a respectful manner. Staying pigheaded about certain issues will never push the envelope for change. It will never garner someone's respect enough to actually listen to you and consider your thoughts. We are more persuasive when we are kind.
The only way to progress and move forward as people and a nation specifically is to get everyone on the same page. That will not happen when we are divisive, argumentative and unrelenting. If we are open to more, people will actively join the conversation. And we are in desperate need of that.