Oh God, another political article. I’m so burnt out by the last election, I’m just tired of hearing it. Can we just agree to disagree?
No, lay-people, we cannot, and here’s why:
Politics is important. If you don’t care about what happens in your state and federal government, it probably means that you benefit from privilege, which is awesome for you, but I bet you know people that don’t, such as people of color, people in poverty, women, LGBT+ people, immigrants, and on, and on, and on.
If you don’t care to have an opinion, then you are a minority these days. If you don’t have an opinion on social issues (which are the easiest to have), surely you have an opinion on economic policy, tax reform, and education. Chances are if you’re reading this, you spend money, pay taxes, go to school, or sometimes even all three!
We legislate our country through regulations, laws and standards, and because we live in a federal republic, we have an active voice in the decisions that determine what we can and cannot do.
Because we benefit from this type of government, you should take advantage of it, especially if you are part of a group that was not originally given a voice. People died so that the poor, people of color, and women could vote. Don’t let their deaths be in vain.
Okay, so you have opinions, maybe even strong ones, and you run into someone who feels the opposite of you. Thanks to the current political climate, as a society, we have divided our assets by views. I mean, even our Congress separates their chairs according to views. The stalemate way of resigning an argument properly is to simply say “let’s agree to disagree”, which is considered a mature way of ending what could escalate to the well-known argumentative fallacy of getting real personal, real quick.
It's also, by definition, tolerating but not accepting something, which for some, it's hard to tolerate injustice. Now, I’m not saying that we should spend our days on Twitter, arguing with someone with an egg avi and try showing them that they are wrong in 140 characters, but we should understand that you do not have to resign yourself to the fact that people are ignorant.
There’s a pretty simple way to not “agree to disagree” and still politely scream your views from the rooftops, and that is to educate.
In the day of social media politics where no one really knows what’s going on and people use The Onion as a credible source, you need to explain what you believe, why, and back it up with facts and figures that are legitimate. The only rules are that you cannot attack someone personally (an argumentative fallacy in the worst kind of way, and I know we’ve all been there) and you have to believe it for better reasons than “that’s what my parents told/taught me”.
Education is the best way to persuade, and you deserve bonus points if your audience doesn't even realize you're trying to persuade them. The problem with our polarized political climate is not that people are so blind that they refuse to others' points of views (which is a common misconception, but I'm telling you if you look at your senators' and representatives' congressional voting record, that's not necessarily the case), but it's that we cannot agree on a true set of facts.
Defining truth is another article for another week, but until we can agree on real statistics and the truth behind what is going on with "the government," we will get no where in proper debate. Just reference the 2016 election.
Standing up for what you believe in and standing firm in that is patriotic, but it's also patriotic to submit to the social contract and be educated in what you believe in. If we can all let go of our egos and pride long enough to learn something, maybe the next crop of political leaders can manage bi-partisanship, which, let’s be honest, is the only thing that makes the world go around.