Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Searching for Election Year Sanity

I rarely discuss politics on social media. While I certainly do have opinions (very strong ones, in fact), my experience is that the platform tends to generate more heat than light. It is  much easier to attack a name on a screen and ignore the human side of it.  In fact, many people seem to delight in doing this.

The emotion and passion that goes along with political discourse is certainly understandable. However, I feel we often go into it in a very short sided way.  Regardless of your persuasion, I would encourage you to ask yourself some honest questions before you go on the attack:

1. Do you take time to fact-check your sources and fallacy-check your arguments?
2. Are you actually looking to change people's minds, or are you simply looking for "high fives" from those who already agree with you?
3. If your info comes from an obviously partisan source, why should anyone accept it as objective news?
4. Do you consider your "side" to be infallible? If they were genuinely shown to be in the wrong about something, would you admit it?
5. If a person disagrees with you, does that automatically make them your enemy?
6. Do you make any attempt to address the other side's concerns and offer a better solution without belittling or insulting them?
7. Remember, for every "bomb" you throw at the other side, they are throwing just as many at yours. Do you offer any compelling reason for accepting your viewpoint instead of theirs?
8. How did you come to accept your viewpoint? Would someone using your current tactics have still been able to persuade you?

Partisan zealots are a dime a dozen. In fact, politicians count on people voting based on emotional manipulation rather than critical thinking.  When you share your views, wouldn't you rather that they be greeted with respect, instead of resentment?  Always remember, a little humility goes a long way!

Keep It Real,
James

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