Taking a Step Back

The political climate in America is rife with anger and discomfort about Trump and his allies now taking the highest offices of the government. In many ways this is warranted, with such tremendous overstepping of government ethics, special interests and ties to Russia there’s no doubt that the new political leaders of America are of a different mindset entirely than leaders of previous decades.

So we talk and talk about what to do, how to fix it and why our current reality is broken. I can’t go a day without seeing Trump in the news or have it be brought up by a friend. There’s no escaping it and that’s not entirely bad, political apathy has stricken the American electorate in the gut.

But will talking about it more help? I don’t think so.

It’s necessary we don’t stick our heads in the sand, but keeping our heads up is no different when we are in the same, self-assuring circles, seemingly designed as infinite, inescapable echo-chambers. We need to take time to analyze our lives and who we speak to, and the actions that result from those lifestyles and see if it’s of any help in mending gashes in our political systems.

So let’s take a step back. Are we talking to the same people? Reading from the same authors? Are we at all taking time to question what is the correct path forward and what isn’t? If we continue to rush at fixing our problems, blinded by our righteousness, we’ll surely stumble and crash before creating a solution.

A 2015 psychological study published by the American Academy of Political and Social Science showed that “liberals and conservatives alike react negatively to dissonant science communication, resulting in diminished trust of the scientific community.” We are all subject to confining ourselves to mainly those who affirm our thoughts without giving the other side a fair change. A dose of humility would serve the American public well.

From my personal experience my daily conversations shift between majority political to overwhelmingly political. It consumes either 55 percent to 70 percent of my conversations. And this is mostly with people who I already, for the most part, agree with. It saps the energy out of me to be discussing this for so long and only be able to exercise my influence so much.

I suggest that politics takes the back seat in casual conversations. Don’t bring up Trump if we’re just walking down the street or happen to run into each other. Or Obamacare. Or Syria. Or whatever.

DO intentionally ask people to discuss issues and devote time specifically for political dialogues.

Many people don’t want to talk about politics. Rightfully so, it’s f**king draining to discuss something for hours and then end up with little consensus. Political conversations seems to start with a smile and a hug then slowly dissolve into a façade of pleasantries and a limp handshake.

So let’s have less political small talk and in exchange more intentional and engaged political discourse. And also, of course, more political action.

Talk is going to get us nowhere, unless it leads to action. Exercising our rights and powers in a democracy, especially when we’re united and enthusiastic, can lead to a much brighter future.

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