During times of political tension, nothing sounds more dreadful than sitting in front of a glistening turkey and family arguments unraveling regarding the results of recent political elections. Arguments can stoke the fires of people’s beliefs. Here is a self-help guide to facilitating the discussion of politics during the holidays with family who do not share the same political views as you.
- Listen to the other side’s argument:
If you are interested in persuading family members to change their perspective, it is crucial to listen to the opposition. In order to adequately begin an argument about politics, you must first understand what the other side is feeling. The opportunity of being heard allows for an exchange of mutual respect and understanding their side of the argument will allow you to better persuade the opposition. You do not have to agree, but expressing such respect will go a long way towards showing that you can listen to opposing belief systems.
- Explain how these policies affect not only you but everyone:
After listening to the opposition carefully, you can now begin to discuss how policies affect both you and the other party. Help them differentiate fake news articles from real news. Sometimes, propaganda can obscure the truth and showing them the truth may prove a little difficult. Help them identify reliable sources so they can dissect the truth from the lies in the future. After recommending more credible sources, present articles that discuss how certain policies affect both parties at hand.
- Understand that Sometimes the Opposition does not want to get swayed:
People sometimes do not want to hear your side of the argument. Remain calm during such moments and back away if the argument is becoming too heated. Your self-preservation is more important than any argument. Facilitate the self-reflection process by also reflecting on their arguments. By demonstrating that you are considering changing your perspective on your political stance, they will more than likely be inclined to do the same.
- Remain Calm:
It is especially important to remain calm during moments of high tension. If your blood is boiling and your heart is on fire, take a step back. It is okay to excuse yourself at any time from the dinner table. Take a couple of deep breaths and if the argument is leading nowhere, feel free to excuse yourself from the discussion.
- You are allowed to disagree with you family and still love them:
Build a bridge and practice your patience. Understand that people are unlikely to change stance immediately but will do so at their own pace. Your main objective is not to win the argument, but to build a bridge where both of you feel free to communicate about both political stances. Once both parties feel like they can communicate with one another, change is more likely to occur. You are allowed to disagree with your family and still love them.
Although there is much difficulty discussing politics with those of different political viewpoints, it is crucial to demonstrate respect for the opposition. This is easier said than done when both parties feel personally attacked but by building bridges, you are more likely to change not only viewpoints, but also grow closer to your relatives.
Photo Credit: Chef Merito