I don’t debate politics. I generally don’t even start political discussions. I will state my opinion on something, but that’s usually about as far it as it goes. I do have opinions about many political issues, I just don’t feel the need to debate them and try to prove that someone’s opposing view is wrong.
One, I’m a self-identified moderate. I lean right on some things and left on others and can, therefore, I easily see both sides of just about any argument. One thing I remember from American Heritage at BYU was that when it comes down to it, most politicians end up somewhere toward the middle themselves when you average out their political beliefs and votes and there are very few on either extreme end of the political spectrum. Therefore, I study the issues and the people and vote bipartisan, instead of just clicking the Vote All One Party button at the booth.
Two, I don’t like to spread negativity. I even limit my rants and venting sessions on non-political matters to my head or personal journal as much as I can, because there’s too much badness in the world as it is. I don’t need to add to it. Unfortunately, most political discussions I’ve ever been a part of become negative quickly. Just look at the campaign ads – they’re mostly about what the opposing candidate has done wrong, rather than what the promoted candidate has done right.
Three, I’m underinformed. I admit it. For example, I know very little about the debates in the political world related to education. My opinion is – education? Get one! I know some people feel very strongly about public v. private v. home schooling v. Montessori and vouchers or no vouchers and No Child Left Behind. I don’t, really. Maybe when I have my own children and I’m deciding how they will be educated, I will do more research about it, but for now, get an education in a manner suitable to your style of learning. I don’t read political blogs and keep up with up to the minute news. I don’t care to get up in arms about something I don’t actually know that much about and I'm just going look like an idiot if I do.
Three-A, if I’m underinformed, so might my debate partner be. That kind of discussion won’t get us anywhere. It’s like people trying to debate tap versus clogging when all they’ve done so far is try on their respective shoes.
Three-B, there is a major danger in being misinformed as well. Too many people get their information from political pundits who believe the same way they do and spin the information accordingly, rather than study the actual facts. I never involved myself in the health care debates, because I had never read the entire bill, and I didn’t want to base the opinions I shared with others solely on what I’d heard.
Four, I don’t know the rules of formal debating. Nor do most people, and far too many discussions I’ve witnessed have quickly devolved from “This is what I believe” to “You’re a brainwashed sheep.”
Five, unless it’s a moral issue, there may be no obvious right or wrong, so, to me, it’s pointless to argue it. If it is a moral issue, and we disagree, we’re still likely going to be unable to reach a compromise.
Above all, I operate under the assumption that everyone, including myself, is trying to be their best self at all times, as best they know how. Most issues, be they political, personal, religious, or what have you, come down to what’s right for you and what’s right for me, and they may not be the same and that’s okay. That’s what makes people so fascinating! I’ll talk about what I believe and why, and I’ll listen to you do the same, and we can correct each other on facts and maybe even share things we’d never thought of before that might change our minds, but convincing each other to change our feelings and personal interpretations is often counterproductive, and I choose not to risk it. If you choose to discuss, debate, or research politics, more power to you! It’s just not my thing.