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The Orion

No one enjoys political debate

Photo credit: David Molina

Everyone has experienced the sudden, uncomfortable hostility that results when a friend mentions a political belief of theirs, which is then met with another friend’s opposing belief.

Friendly settings turn cutthroat as everyone in the room begins to angrily spurt out unorganized political jargon without regard for constructive argument. These settings are horrible experiences and can tarnish good friendships.

Something about political debate brings out the worst in people. Most Americans would agree that destructive political conversations are increasing daily as the 2016 presidential race heats up and more political news makes headlines.

Average American citizens aren’t the only ones guilty of this, as most of the candidates in the race for president make daily news for snarky public comments toward competitors in interviews or debates.

These days, anything can bring out the aggressively verbal freedom fighter in a social situation: dropping a candidate’s name, asking about an issue in the news, recent developments/ideas, etc.

Most people realize that this kind of conversation does not actually sway the opinions of others and try to avoid it, but anyone persistent enough about their issue can cause arguments among any group of people.

I personally don’t blame people for trying to sway other people’s opinions since most political issues discussed can literally mean life or death, like war or abortion.

They see discussion as a way to educate others on their viewpoints, but this form of persuasion often fails to communicate ideas critically or effectively.

Rather, politicians who polarize the country into strict mindsets, promise change and end up not fixing or caring about issues, fail our political system more than anything else could.

They make our devotion and education of politics a waste of time when we believe our support for them makes our world or country a better place.

Our only hope to overcome this problem is to further educate ourselves and make smart decisions based on past elections and judgments.

The game of politics doesn’t have to be a struggle when both parties realize the intent of the system is to make our country stronger. It depends on the people’s vote to elect someone who takes their job seriously.

It’s lucky to ever have a political conversation where passions don’t derail the conversation. Good friends may be able to help each other see their points, but rarely ever change their opinions.

Experts say that the only effective developments in political ideology come from opinion leaders. Respected people like Jesse Jackson, Warren Buffett, Beyonce Knowles, and from a person’s political socialization, or growth and learning of politics from when they were young.

Fortunately for those passionate about making a difference, there is a rational alternative to making your friends and peers uncomfortable with political argument: go out and vote! Casting your voice in the RIGHT place is the first concrete move annoying political stragglers can make to actually change the way things work.

After voting, the next best thing the average American can do is to convince other like-minded people to vote. This step would fight America’s infamous reputation for low voter turnout, considering only about 60 percent of eligible voters vote in presidential elections and about 40 percent vote in midterm elections

On behalf of all people experienced in talking politics and educated about the candidates and issues, please don’t seek social change by forcing your opinions on your friends. It is painfully nonconstructive and no one wants to hear or join your loud, one-sided argument. Simply take your opinion to the poll and be happy that you submitted your argument in the right place.

Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] or @sdaly3orion on Twitter.

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