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We Must be Civil When Discussing Politics

Last updated on August 21, 2020

(Photo Credit: Patrick Semansky)

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

Civility is something I strive for in political discussions because it is mutually beneficial for both parties. If one thinks about it, the very aspect of civility is taught to us at such a young age. My parents taught me a sense of politeness and civility when I was five years old.

They told me when to say “please” and “thank you.” My father always got annoyed when I talked to him in a certain tone and mother scolded me when I cursed. We are taught basic societal norms because it helps us in the long run. However, we have lost that civility when we are faced with juxtaposing viewpoints.

In 2018, the Heartbeat Bill was passed by state legislation. The bill was very controversial which sparked retaliation. People posted horrible things and impulsive assumptions targeting legislators on social media.

This, I posted on my social media, “If anyone wants to have a civil discussion about abortion, then contact me.” Apparently, that was ill-mannered because specific people stated I don’t have a place to talk about abortion.

Later, news cycles occurred and people moved on with their lives. However, this occasion is not rare. Hundreds of stories published every day get this same response and people who try to engage in civility are shut down.

What is also self destructing is the belief that your opinion is objective. By equating an objective standard with your beliefs, it makes you prone to disregard the opposing viewpoints.

For example, if I were to say that fiscal conservatism leads to less poverty and a greater expansion of the middle class, that would be subject to debate. People can counter-argue with what happens when a free market goes unregulated or refer to crony capitalism. However, if I were to treat my economic view as objective or “my truth,” then I would not even consider something that undermines my claim.

This is why we need to listen to both sides and enter a conversation with the hope to compromise.

Every time I talk about politics, I stress political civility. Even though I am politically biased, I respect the opposing argument because my opponent has every prerogative to say what he or she wishes to say.

The beauty of civility is that in the end, we can come to some moral consensus on the topic. The point of debate is not to win, but to move forward. The whole reason politicians debate on current events is because they want to find the best possible solution.

We have every opportunity to rise up from pettiness and idiocy in order to create a dialogue where everyone benefits. We have the capacity to create a community built on social tolerance and acceptance. It all starts with civility.

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

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