Politics is usually off the table. We’re told to avoid the topic at gatherings for fear of the ramifications – heated debate, anger, broken dishes, etc. This kind of avoidance doesn’t make sense in today’s culture.
Many of us don’t live in communities with homogenous views. If we do, those communities might be facing changes in demographic makeup, expressed values, and culture. In order to navigate our communities, and the changes that they are experiencing, we have to talk.
I’m not saying the conversations are easy, but they are necessary, and there may be ways to avoid what we fear in political discourse while still engaging. Here’s a thought:
Ask more questions.
We live in a “statement making” culture. Online interactions are based on trading statements rather than actual dialogue. We even preempt interpretation by explaining how someone should read our truncated remarks. I saw a recent thread that ended with a series of statements that read, “If you think I’m saying [insert possible interpretation] then you are a moron.” Ugh.
Asking questions takes time, but teaches us about one another. We learn about the person asking the question by what they ask about. We learn about the person answering by how and what they answer.
If part of a community is about learning together, then asking questions is the beginning of the process.