Have you ever asked yourself why people constantly get so worked up and emotional when discussing politics? That isn’t a rhetorical question, you should actually pause for a minute and ask yourself why this happens. This is a question I asked myself when I was a 14 year old getting into arguments over things I had virtually no understanding of. This is also a question I asked myself when I quietly observed countless Facebook arguments in which two people who had just over drafted their debit cards laid into each other over the national debt- do you see the irony there? Seriously, there is no one person on earth who has it all figured out, so why pretend we do?
Despite the fact that we, as individuals, have an incredibly limited understanding of the world around us, we still cling to our political values and rarely welcome opposing views and opinions. Once again, why does this happen? You see, before we ever learn how to think for ourselves, our parents raise us in a way that is consistent with their views and values. This applies to all areas of life, and especially to politics and religion. For that reason, we tend to adopt our parent’s political and religious beliefs during our formative years.
As time goes on, these views our parents pass down to us become so deeply ingrained that they become extensions of our selves. Eventually, these views begin defining us, who we believe we are, and who we wish to be. For example, many of you may see your father or mother as a hard worker. You’ve seen them work long hours and you remember all the lessons they taught you about the importance of hard work. Now, as you come of age, you see yourself as a hard worker because you have taken all the lessons and knowledge your parents have passed down and you yourself have begun exercising them. This is good! However, this dynamic can also have a negative effect on us. Why? Well, because of how our views are passed down from generation to generation, we seldom think to revise them or even weigh them against new information. Once again, this occurs because we hold these untested views for so long, that we begin to accept them as fact, even when evidence states otherwise. Therefore, when we actually develop the capability to think for ourselves, we overlook these lessons because we have already taken them as fact for so long. Think about it, how often do you see a religious argument end in the words “Wow, I never thought of it that way, you’re right!”. In other words, we begin to take so much pride in our views that it becomes impossible to revise them. Nobody likes to be wrong, nobody likes to swallow their pride, and this is the very reason why political discussions are so difficult.
In order for our society to progress, we must first learn how to discuss our differences while understanding that together, all of us know a lot more than just one of us. Additionally, we should stop fearing the retribution we may face for involving ourselves in our passions. This is a lesson I myself have had to learn; most of you probably hate me for inundating your lives with my blog activities, and I’m sure some people actually look down on me for doing what I’m doing. For so long, a large part of me was hesitant to fully open up about my passion for the things I write about, simply because I didn’t want to deal with the scrutiny one may receive when discussing these matters. I think we all remember a point in our lives where we felt a certain pressure to fit in, and I think it is important to relieve ourselves of that pressure if we want to unlock our collective potential. A lot of what I talk about aren’t traditional points or lines of arguments that you see in the news but rather, they’re the result of a great deal of time and effort spent trying my hardest to understand issues as best I can. This is an ongoing effort, and I don’t ever expect it to end. So if you read my work, thank you! But also, please think for yourself! When you read these pieces you should ask yourself questions and you should challenge me if you don’t agree. In the end, I started this blog so that I can, someday, give people a platform to have civil discussions about big issues. There is no reason to get upset when somebody disagrees with you, we all want the same thing, we just have different ideas on how to get there!
Seriously, there is no one person on earth who has it all figured out, so why pretend we do?