Here’s my disclaimer: I’m about to talk politics and manners.
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll know that my primary vote went to Bernie Sanders, and I have several items of his campaign merchandise. However, I have loved having two solid Democratic candidates this election season – it has led to some great debates, and I think it will lead to a better America.
With most of the primaries being finished, the reality is that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the most likely nominees for President of the United States. Now, politics are a hot button topic for everyone, and recently Twitter and media reports have been full of reports of violence, death threats and abuse, and bullying from supporters of every political camp, and that really isn’t acceptable.
If your debate needs a death threat or violence, your point isn’t good. Take a step back, reign in your emotions and say, “This is my experience, this is why I believe what I believe.” The next step you need to take is to listen to whomever you are talking to. Open your ears and hearts to their experience. Debate, discuss, learn about each others’ points of view. I promise that you’ll feel better for it. Or you’ll learn that the people you’re talking to are people you really shouldn’t talk politics with.
You know the phrase “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Think about that as you discuss politics, or any controversial topic. Everyone has their own thoughts and beliefs about every topic under the sun, which is absolutely okay. You aren’t always going to agree on them, which is also okay.
Remember that you are not always going to be right, so no matter what, remember to be kind. Educate and discuss, don’t bully people into running away from you. No one ever took an opinion from someone being overly aggressive and said, “Hm, you know, they’re right!” If you take the time and energy to say “Hey, have you thought about it this way?” you might have much better luck getting someone to agree with you.
This bit of advice from Jenny Lawson’s grandmother is something I think that everyone can benefit from, especially when it comes to topics like politics.
“Like my grandmother always said, ‘Your opinions are valid and important. Unless it’s some stupid bullshit you’re being shitty about, in which case you can just go fuck yourself.” -Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy
If you are bullying or threatening violence on someone because of politics, you are being shitty. You are the one in the wrong. Get your shit together or go fuck yourself.