Why making your friends and relatives uncomfortable when talking about politics is important.
Being a political science major, I understand that I want to talk shop more than the average person. Not everyone feels the need to constantly worry about the state of the union or the welfare of the environment. Most definitely not everyone feels the need to make their ideology known to the people around them and have it open to controversy.
But here is why you should.
I have met many people in my life that get uncomfortable when a politically charged topic comes up. This is generally understandable. With the amount of friction in politics these days, people are scared of coming under fire even if they are knowledgeable about politics. However, what I have noticed is that when people have a level of respect for a person they are conversing with, the conversation has a much more likable outcome and is important for the greater idea of bipartisanship. The stipulation on this rule is that a person does not have to be respectful of another's views when those views are rooted in hatred or threaten your wellbeing.
I grew up in a rather liberal area of New Jersey before going to Virginia for school. While Virginia is a blue-ish state, it has multiple red districts and is more conservative than my typical comfort zone. I have a friend at college who is as far right as I am left. While some may be uncomfortable talking politics with someone on the other side of the political spectrum, he is one of my favorite people to talk to. From having many open conversations with him I have decided that while I will never agree with his beliefs, I respect that he is well-educated and knowledgeable, all while listening to and respecting me. I gain a better understanding of the conservative mindset with every conversation.
Small conversations allow people to be comfortable with politics and allows respect for the person who admits they don't know enough about a topic. Talking about a topic only opens the doorway to knowledge and familiarity. Set a tone of respect when entering into these conversations. Remember attacking is not the same thing as being passionate. Arguing is not the same as fighting. Standing up for yourself is not the same as disrespecting someone.
These types of conversations are important on a larger level. Because of friction across the political aisle, many people keep their politics private. But the more people that are open to talking about their views in a respectful manner promotes cooperation and an understanding that arguments are not about winning but gaining an understanding and appreciation for the other person. Working together is extremely important for any type of progress. Bipartisanship can happen at an individual level as well.
So go ahead and make everyone in the room uncomfortable when you bring up abortion rights or gun control. As someone once said, great things were never accomplished in anyone's comfort zones.