October 02, 2012

Let's Talk Politics

If you live in the United States, you're probably (I hope!) aware that a very important election is just around the corner. In just about a month, US citizens will be voting to either extend the office of the incumbent, President Barack Obama for another term or to welcome former Massachusetts governor,Mitt Romney, as our 45th president. As the election heats up, so do the conversations surrounding them and you're likely to hear people talking about it everywhere: at restaurants, on Twitter, and even at work.
Now, in general, I believe politics is a topic that should generally be avoided in professional environments and on social media unless, of course, you work in politics (but even then for the sake of keeping friends, I recommend not flooding your Facebook feed with political posts). But you may find that the topic comes up with the coworkers at lunch and you want to throw your two cents into the conversation. If you're going to discuss politics at work or anywhere, really, you should watch how you present your opinion.
For example, something I've noticed a lot of people saying/posting recently goes something like this: "Did you see Candidate A's speech last night? I can't believe anyone would be so stupid as to vote for that guy!"
I've had that said at a discussion during lunch at work where the political candidate was not the one I was in favor of and I had to bite my tongue not to say something like "So you think I'm stupid?". I think the problem is that many people consider themselves to be intelligent, well-informed people and I see nothing wrong with that however the mistake comes in assuming that all other intelligent, well-informed people must share similar opinions.
Maybe I'm naive to think so but I like to go off of the assumption that there are extremely smart and well-educated people on both sides of highly-debated arguments. Are there stupid, ignorant people on both sides as well? Absolutely. But you shouldn't throw around insults off of a flimsy assumption that you're in like-minded company. If you want to discuss your opinion, present your case, but don't name-call people who disagree with you. You never know who you might be offending and who may just sit there silently in order to save you both from embarrassment.
I'll say it again: there are extremely intelligent people on both sides of an argument. We're not talking about math where the answer is irrefutable. We're talking about politics, a social science. If it were a true science, our leaders would be selected based on tested and proven scientific laws and not by people's opinions.
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