The future of our country depends upon how we address the issues our nation faces and what policies we enact to influence positive change. However, because there are numerous ways to view these obstacles, there are also multiple solutions. This sparks room for debate and discussion in order to determine which ideas are best suited for each situation.
Sadly, although the study of politics is meant to change minds, encourage others, and persuade people through civil discourse, it is also an area where one can become easily deterred from listening to the ideas of others. Because of the emphasis placed of political parties and the urgency to keep the majority in different branches of government, it is not difficult to become polarized from listening to other viewpoints. As a result, it has become easy to quickly judge and label others, without taking the time to hear their arguments. This is a disservice to an exhilarating field of study that is meant to sharpen the minds of citizens and promote critical thinking for the purpose of bettering society. Here are three reasons why it is important to remain civil and open-minded when discussing politics:
1. Most People Have Good Intentions
When serving on the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Antonin Scalia stated in an interview,
“I attack ideas, I don’t attack people – and some very good people have some very bad ideas.”
This is true, especially in politics. Although you will not subscribe to all of the ideas someone else has, it is important to recognize that they are just that – ideas. If you are quick to judge people simply based on the solutions they believe are most feasible in different situations, you will be overlooking the fact that they obviously care enough about the issue to address it at all. There will always be ideas you disagree with, but don’t allow this to result in personal attacks. Instead, attempt to demonstrate why your position is better. You will be more likely to keep positive relationships with others, which may even result in you persuading them politically.
2. Your Reactions Towards Others Reflect On You
If you want to change people’s minds, you have to appear trustworthy and reliable. In order to succeed at this, it is important to prove to others that you are willing to hear both sides before coming to a conclusion. Making baseless assumptions on others due to how they identify politically or look at an issue will result in making you look closed-minded and even less confident in your positions. Engaging in debate and discussion in a civil manner gives you the opportunity to gain insight regarding different viewpoints. With this knowledge, you can strengthen your positions and enhance your ability to articulate them to others. Being objective doesn’t make you moderate in your beliefs. If anything, it gives you the opportunity to fortify them.
3.There Is Always Room To Learn
I know it can be difficult to admit this when you’re passionate about your personal beliefs, but there is still more to learn. This is hard for me to acknowledge at times, and I am only nineteen. However, although you may not agree with someone politically, their arguments can expose you to concerns and new ways of thinking that you never would have gotten from only speaking to those who share your beliefs. Through remaining determined to listen to others, you may realize that there are better solutions to certain issues than the one you already adopted. In fact, you may find yourself working with those you disagree with to seek a better solution. Some issues that are considered partisan truly should not be. Through contributing to a discussion and recognizing different perspectives, you may take part in a solution much greater than either one brought to the debate to begin with.