How To Argue In Circles
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Politics and Activism

How To Argue In Circles

Argument at its worst condition.

How To Argue In Circles

I have always believed that "words make everything better." Perhaps that is why I decided to study English. Possessing the ability to communicate my opinions about the human condition has allowed me to resolve problems and build sturdy relationships. Especially after immersing myself in college culture has this become relevant. I have discovered the importance of speaking up and adding dialogue, no matter how small, to the larger conversation. I see the apparent impact words can have through reformation and protest. Speech drives our society as we know it. What would we be without the innate gift of verbal communication?

If all of this is true, why do I find myself silent in the face of confrontation? Even if there is a small chance of an argument coming alive, I still prefer to remain silent. When asked about the past election, I often deliver the rehearsed lines: "I don't have a point of view" or "I don't follow the media, sorry". However, those are just blatant lies. I have extremely passionate opinions about Donald Trump and current policies, but somehow they never reach my lips.

In debate classes throughout the education system, they teach you that in order to win a debate, you have to be actively looking for when your opponent messes up. This provides you the opportunity to use their mistake against them and poke holes in their argument. Debates are actually quite important when addressing controversial issues. They challenge common knowledge and invoke new and revised ideas through competition. However, why is it that the day-to-day conversations that we participate in quite often take the form of debates? Instead of allowing ourselves to comprehend the other side of an argument, we stand at attention on the other side of the fence, ready to shoot down any signs of stammering or misspoken fact.

Allowing myself out into this battle field of opinion never seemed worth it to me. How can you possibly persuade someone who is not willing to listen? Even during the past Presidential Election, I became fed up with the debates and discussions that filled the media. There was not one argument I saw that came to a conclusion. Each opposing side seemed to become more heated and less rational as the debate continued, only to arrive at a time limit. Then, both arguers walk away with increased belief in their side and reinforced resentment for the opposition. To them, there is no need to consider an alternative, that arguing is nothing but the presentation of the same view point over and over. And the louder we yell it, the better. The media, particularly the election coverage, proved to me that people are content with arguing despite of ignorance.

We, as human beings, are lucky to have a skill like no other. We can use words. This precious gift allows for open doors and valuable compromise. In the act of refusing to understand another point, we take this skill for granted. People, not much different from myself, are straying away from the political conversation in fear of being attacked. In a rhetorical world so quick to their holsters, we must learn how to hear the other side and develop a skill for sympathy instead of argument. Then slowly, we can disassemble extreme polarization and develop a greater respect for our power to communicate.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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