I posted online recently about how many conversations I’ve found myself in centered around politics. If you’re like me at all, these conversations can present great unease and the longing for talk of the weather. I appreciate honesty and passion, I encourage raw opinions, yet I find political banter so unbelievably uncomfortable.
The biggest thing I’ve learned from political conversations and the political exposure I’ve experienced recently is that I don’t know enough. I don’t know enough facts, nor do I have enough real world experience to form a lot of concrete opinions on issues I have never had to personally encounter. This can be true of many things, not just politics and government policy, as I have so much to learn about the world I live in and what actions are truly best for the issues I am affected by or that I truly care about. One thing I don’t need to educate myself on, however, is addressing differing viewpoints from a tone of respect.
The hate and accusations associated with political talk make me uncomfortable to say the least, and in my mind, it’s just not how ideas should be shared. Change is achieved through camaraderie and fellowship, but division based on political alliance makes that seem unattainable at times. In my mind and my experience, hate and political division is only going to reduce how much people like me, those who hide in bathrooms when the topic arises in conversation, those who cried in their first ever voting booth, those who are stuck between what they feel they should believe and what the media portrays, actually know about the issues in our society. That paints a rather bitter picture of the world we live in.
I crave a conversation centered around learning from experiences I have not encountered nor probably ever will, one based off of passion and motivation for a change in practice. I want to know about advocacy and lobbying, what the true effects of a certain bill mean to different people, I want to have a conversation about government, not political parties or resentment against supporters of one candidate or another.
There are many things I disagree with in our present government as well as modern society, one of them being the fact that most conversations and information in circulation is created for the sole purpose of demeaning one group, candidate, law, or party rather than providing facts about the situation as a whole: what led to the issue at hand or how things could be made better through an alternative course of action. I want a conversation of fact, of experience, and of free expression without all the cloudiness of hating one figurehead or another. I want to know why I should choose to believe one way or another without feeling judgement for the way I do stand on my issues, but most of all, I never want to feel the way I felt last November, sitting in a voting booth, terrified of what it would mean to check one box or another.
I don’t know enough, please, kindly, tell me more.