As a rule, I hate talking politics, and I avoid it whenever possible. Always have. Whenever I’m at a party, and I hear some guests debating with an intensity and a volume in which the participants can’t even hear one another, I leave the room. Furthermore, when someone tries to draw me into a debate, or even a discussion, I deflect, sometimes subtly, sometimes not so. Same thing on social media. Now, note what I said: I hate talking politics, not the actual keeping up with politics or thinking about them. I consider myself educated, informed, and well read, so that’s not the issue. I even have strong political opinions of my own. So that’s not an issue either. I just hate talking about politics. This is why I feel so strongly:
1.Debates are often alcohol fueled. Nothing good happens when something is alcohol fueled, as a rule, whether it's in person or online. Add a politically charged discussion to the mix, especially in these volatile, divisive times, and you're really playing with fire. So many of these "discussions" start out fairly calmly, before they devolve into unpleasant confrontations. At the very least, even if they don't get that far, someone inevitably gets offended. What's the point?
2. We’re just never going to agree. You’re not going to convince me of your long held opinions and convictions, and I’m not going to convince you of mine. So again, what’s the point? The best case scenario is that we will agree to disagree, and end up in the same exact place from which we started.
3. Insufferable posturing on positions. An old friend’s dad used to call this, “pseudo intellectual bullshit.” I've always thought that was brilliant. In other words, he was referring to the practice of amateur pundits posturing for one another, trying to show off their brilliance, or one-up each other with the utter genius of their philosophies and their ideologies.
4. Less talk, more action. This is huge pet peeve of mine. If you feel so strongly about an issue, go actually do something about the problem. Get off the computer, put down the drink, quiet down, and get involved. Volunteer. Go march. Donate. Make a contribution of some sort. ACT.
5. Thinly veiled bigotry/racism/antisemitism/etc. This one speaks for itself. Sadly, one's political posturing is sometimes a thinly veiled attempt at disguising and justifying one's hate towards others. Combine this with bullet point #1, and you're dealing with some potentially major drama.
I know there are those who strongly disagree with me on all of this, and that's fine. Some folks enjoy a good political debate, regardless of how uncomfortable or volatile it gets. It's a sport to them. But for me, whenever I get the chance to go to a party these days and have an honest to goodness good time with honest to goodness grown ups, that’s just what I want to do. Keep it light. Keep it fun. Not get into anything too heavy. Same thing with getting online. I just want to see your vacation pics, your cute kids, and adorable cats.
If I want drama, I'll stay at the office.
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