Creating understanding: The importance of political discussion

The United States presidential election of 2020 has been a hotly contested subject for quite some time. This election season has seen hundreds of thousands of college and high school students becoming more involved in politics. This is a great feat in my perspective considering young adults typically have the lowest voter turnout in elections. However, despite this increase in positive forms of political participation, many of these young adults have taken to social media apps to throw insults at each other on both sides. While there are certainly many who are simply voicing their beliefs, there remain others that attack others personally and foster hostility. 

Enhancing our communication skills is a great tool that we can use to discuss politics. One’s political beliefs can be a highly sensitive topic, especially in recent years. When people have contrasting views, particularly on personal and sensitive topics, it becomes increasingly difficult to have peaceful discussions with one another. I believe however, that communication is an essential part of our democracy. As hard as it becomes to have uncomfortable conversations, I believe that sometimes they must be had in order for our democracy to flourish. Furthermore, it is vital that these discussions do not consist of personal attacks or harsh insults. 

When we are passionate about our beliefs, we should want to demonstrate to others why they should consider our beliefs. Instead of criticizing their beliefs and name calling, I argue that it would be more beneficial to use our communication skills to educate them on certain issues and ideas. We can possibly make the other person more aware of a different perspective that they hadn’t understood before. Additionally, we can draw from persuasive techniques to demonstrate to them why they should side with us on a particular issue.

The ultimate goal should be to create understanding through discussion. Admittedly, this may be nearly impossible with those who hold extremist views. Sometimes people may be very stubborn in their beliefs or hold views that are hateful. We may even have family members or peers who possess beliefs that are by nature hateful. These people most likely will not compromise on their views or have peaceful discussions on politics. But for the others that are willing to hold positive discussions, we should attempt to create common ground.    

Personally, I have had discussions with friends who hold different political views than I do and it has changed the way I saw certain issues. I have also had discussions with family members that caused them to see things in a different light. My own political beliefs and the beliefs of people around me have significantly changed over time as they met new people, had new experiences, and fostered positive discussions. I strongly believe that, in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, we should all strive for positive political discussions whenever possible. 

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