How not to voice your political views

Time for another thing which winds me up: People getting catty over politics (so, yes, I’m going to get catty about how catty they’re being).

There was recently a general election here in the UK. You may have noticed that most people in the UK went a bit intense and focused about it – and fair enough, it is a big deal. However, I firmly believe there’s a right and a wrong way to go about discussing politics. Unfortunately I know a lot of people who go about it the wrong way.

The wrong way, in my mind, goes along this kind of line:

‘Anyone who votes [Tory/Labour/] is a ****ing moron. They’re just doing it because they’re [racist/uncaring/scrounging/lazy/deluded]’

‘How can anyone be stupid enough to want the policies of [party]?’

‘We should round up all [party] voters and stop them having [healthcare/free trade] and see how they actually like it.’

etc. etc. etc.

Even ‘harmless jokes’ like ‘Remember to vote today. Unless you’re voting [party] in which case just stay at home.’

Firstly, I don’t see any need to be so nasty to one another. Okay, politics are quite a big deal, and it has a large impact on our lives in a lot of ways. However, that’s no reason to be offensive, rude, and downright mean. Name-calling just isn’t nice.

More importantly, what does this actually achieve? All I’ve seen it achieve is further separation between supporters of different parties/sides.

It’s hardly a surprise that if someone publicly denounces all Tory supporters as racist, people aren’t going to be too willing to admit that they’re a Tory supporter. Instead, they’ll just talk with fellow Tory supporters about how all Labour supporters are wussy socialists who are out of touch with the real world. Then the labour supporters find a worse insult for Tories, and so on and so on.

All you’re actually doing is creating silent voters, who won’t participate in any discussions about their views. You are destroying any chance of open, reasoned debate.

Here’s a novel idea – lets talk to one another. Put your preconceived ideas, your bias, your assumptions, all away for a moment, and actually talk – and most importantly, listen. Don’t tell someone why they support a certain viewpoint, because you don’t actually know. You might know why 99% of people support it (unlikely, honestly) but assume that everyone you speak to is in the 1%, and listen to what their reasoning is. You might be surprised.

Remember, you probably don’t think you’re all the nasty names that the opposition are calling you, so why would you do the same to them?

So far I’ve been unable to discuss politics with many people, because there’s always someone being rude or nasty. It’s annoying even when their views align with mine, because I sure as heck don’t want to be lumped with someone who acts like that.

 

I guess this rant should come to an end soon, so lets sum it up this way:

 

Don’t be a dick.

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