Crossing those lines

Finding common ground in political disagreements


Jeffrey Williams

Though we may disagree, we must grow as a nation united

There are clear dividing lines in our nation’s political discourse. How do your ideas differ from mine? Do your political opinions affect the way I view you? The political landscape in the U.S. is separated into the bipartisan system our forefathers believed to be the detriment of our people.

Whatever you think, you can be divided into groups of ideas that you must adhere to. This ideological segregation keeps us from empathizing, negotiating and civilly interacting with each other. It’s vital to remember that we are all still human and deserve to be treated as such. Too often do we find disrespectful and hateful things said and done to those that we don’t agree on specific topics.

I believe that one can still have political discussions with those that we don’t agree with and even walk away on friendly terms. There are topics that I do stay away from discussing with friends whose views differ from mine. I think there are emotional topics that will lead to a more harmful than beneficial discussion.

But, if you do find yourself in a political or charged conversation with friends, remember these things\; don’t take things personally or get personal, remain on topic, be able to defend your thought out idea and find common agreeance.

It is incredibly easy to be offended or take differing ideas offensively. This idea is more applicable if you are in a more emotionally driven discussion. The other person, or even yourself, could let emotions overcome your thoughts and drive out proper discourse.

It’s necessary to remain calm and professional in the way you present your ideas. You must stay respectful, but this is a two-way street. I’m in no way saying to get hostile, but stand your ground and know when it’s time to leave the conversation. Know your boundaries.

How many debates or political discussions have you seen become an insult slinging deathmatch in the media or online? These divisions veil an excuse to tear each other apart because we disagree with one another, which is ridiculous.

Remain on topic. This advice can also coincide with being able to defend your thoughts with a well-conceived idea. When things go south, we tend to deviate or find routes that we believe aid our original opinion. By doing so, you’re doing the opposite. More talking points on an idea can muddy up your thought process. It can derail your idea altogether. However, nothing is set in stone, and you should be open to having your mind changed at times.

But in my opinion, the most critical factor in remaining civil in political conversations is finding common agreeances to fall back on. Recently I had a conversation with a friend of mine. We both have different political affiliations and values. Yet we both had a constructive, insightful, and friendly conversation. No, we didn’t agree on everything the other had to say and didn’t agree overall. We decided to agree to disagree. But we did have some agreements on the topic. At the end of the discussion, we were still able to walk away with some understanding of the other.

These discussions are what strengthen or change our ideas. As a society, we need each other to grow. Divided, we fall, united we stand. Us humans rely on humans. If we’re too busy disagreeing, what growth are we obtaining? Will all the bickering be worth it in the end?