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    Are we too over-politicized?

    challenge posed by Andy Nash 13 days 10 hours 18 minutes ago

    Category: Politics
    Challenge Forum

    Are we too over-politicized?

    With these midterms finally over, will Thanksgiving family dinner be less political? Asking if or why everything is political, is nothing new. But it certainly seems these days we’ve cranked it up to 11. It seems today nothing is free of politicization, whether it’s severe weather storms, Halloween costumes, athletes kneeling, virtually every joke by every late night comedian, any average day on a college campus, school curriculum, ancestry DNA, and I’m sure I can exceed my character limit.

    What I’ve found disconcerting is the level of political saturation in everything, all facets of life we experience; and the level of toxicity we’ve reached on social media, blogs — everywhere. Whether it’s the Hamilton play a few years back, or flippant comments by celebrities at awards shows, you can’t even take a calm walk in the park without someone debating free-range parenting as a herd of kids run by (whereas before we’d just complain about the kids running by). Whether you agree or disagree, is there no escape?

    With so much civic discourse so uncivil, what should we do? We seem to have become much more tribal along political lines than ever before. And all sides only continue to up the ante, reminding us each & every time that “this election is the most important ever”. And of course it is, but is it only because we’ve made it so? Is there really more at stake than before or during our nation’s most turbulent times: the Civil War, World Wars I & II, The Great Depression, Korea, Vietnam and the draft, Segregation and the Civil Rights movement? As fewer & fewer voters have the perspective of having lived through these times, people are more outraged now over same sex bathrooms and whether refusing to bake a certain type of wedding cake is a violation of civil if not human rights. Yet the indignation seems higher. Is it? Why? Should it be? Why / why not?

    To be fair, it’s on both sides, although in different forms on the Left and the Right. Personally I’m glad the midterms are over, as I dig in for the annual war on Christmas. Maybe we’re too thin skinned, or we just sensationalize everything, maybe we’re just losing a common civic culture as we’re ready to pelt invective at those we deem as oppositional. How did everything rise to the level of an existential threat to my values or yours, or to civilization? Is it me, or are we just too overly political?

    Re: Are we too over-politicized?

    Hi Andy,

    I totally agree. It is hard to know what to say anymore, and I feel sometimes that people are "walking on eggshells" for fear of offending someone, and sometimes it doesn't seem to matter what is said, someone will be offended.

    We are too sensitive, too angry, and definitely too political. And being kind or at least polite and civil to one another does not happen so much anymore.

    What can we do? I for one will be praying. (I hope I didn't offend anyone with that, haha!) That is my go-to solution to problems. Another thing that can be done is to stay OFF social media. What started out as an easy way to keep track of what people that you know are up to has turned into a bullying, anger and hate-spewing pulpit for some people who are safe in their basements on their computers.

    Thanks for the forum, I wish I had thought of this one, haha!

    Kasey

    Re: Are we too over-politicized?

    Hey Andy,

    Great questions! I, for one, don't think this Thanksgiving will be any easier politically than it has been over the years. I do agree that people seem to be more thin-skinned about things that maybe shouldn't have such a strong affect on people. At the same time, we seem to be very accepting of things and lifestyle choices and people that would've been deemed absolutely preposterous 40-60 years ago. I think the culture of needing/displaying acceptance mixed in with the instant communication and gratification that social media provides has created a mass need to share and enforce our opinions with others. This of course becomes aggressive and hectic very easily, hence the defensive reaction people have towards those with differing opinions.
    I can't say I have any kind of solution or course of action that'll help relieve the ever-growing political tension, but maybe if everyone can just chill out? Take it down from 11 to like a 6 that would do wonders for everyone's blood pressure. That and I'll definitely be sending up prayers for Thanksgiving to go smoothly. Good luck to everyone this holiday season!

    Em

    Re: Are we too over-politicized?

    Hi Andy,

    Thank you for the challenge. I believe a part of the issue of being over-politicized is the advancement. We always enjoyed the freedom of speech and technology has presented so many platforms for each of us to have our own stage. Everything possible that someone could think to do or say, be it favorable or not, has an audience waiting to be empowered and inspired.

    We have become very sensitive, and rowdy and individualized. What has even raised an alert is that it is even more prevalent in our churches, not that there are exempt. However, it is supposed to be a place of peace, and harmony, and love and light. When I hear churches are split because of the congregants' political decisions or when leaders are preaching to persuade which way to vote is just overwhelming.

    We can't run or hide. It's a viral virus and it's everywhere. Now that it is "commonplace" I believe that we can come to the quickest resolve of this by being unplugged from the technology that drives it all. We can spend less time on social media platforms, less time seeking out the news that points to politics mainly. Focus more on family and other relationships. Adopt a "leave it at the door" policy. This is when we get together whether for work, leisure, faith expressions, we do not talk about anything political and try to stay the course of the focus of the gathering.

    Re: Are we too over-politicized?

    Andy,

    The midterms are over and things are already moving fast in Washington. President Trump gave a 90-minute news conference, vowing to adopt a “warlike posture” if Democrats investigate his administration. Democrats are plotting their next steps after a pretty good night. I think we are far from over with all the politicizing even now that the midterms are over. And as soon as it's over, and so it begins...I think it's just going to ramp up as the 2020 Presidential election process begins.

    I think we have become a toxic society. People hide behind a keyboard and rip one another apart. In the past people simply knew better than to discuss religion and politics. Now it's so easy to spew hate upon someone who doesn't have the same believes or opinions as your "tribe" or "team" due to social media. It's a sad reality.

    I also think in the wake of the participation trophy world we live in, people have become way to hyper sensitive. I think there's a time and place to interject in other people's business, for example if you see someone abusing a child or bullying. I am thankful that cultural awareness has come about as well. But for the most part people need to get back into staying in their own lanes and stop being offended when someone does or says something that you don't like or agree with. We need to learn to get back to treating one another with respect, even when you have differing viewpoints. Be civil. It's not that difficult.

    I read an article about essential lessons from psychology to understand the current political era. Here is a clip of that:

    "Rooting for a team alters your perception of the world.
    We can be immune to uncomfortable facts.
    People don’t often make decisions based on the truth.
    It’s shockingly easy to grow numb to mass suffering.
    Fake news preys on our biases — and will be very hard to stamp out.

    An uncomfortable theme you might notice here is that our leaders, the groups we were born into, and, increasingly, our echo-chambered media ecosystems can bring out the worst psychological biases that exist in all of us. In other words, whether you are Democrat or Republican “At the end of the day, we’re all human beings and we use the same psychological processes.”

    The last time I checked, I don't introduce myself as Jon the Dem or Jon the Republican. I'm just Jon. We need to stop fueling this fire. Also, Is winning at all costs really winning?

    Thanks for reading.


    Jon

    Re: Are we too over-politicized?

    Hey Hey!

    Yep.

    Re: Are we too over-politicized?

    Nearly everything is political because our society is shaped by law. Therefore, politicians at any level have the ability to directly affect our lives from the products we consume to the changes in our environment to the money we take home.

    Insofar as people acting political, I don't think we're political enough. There's a handful of people who are really fired up, which is great, but our voter turnout is still pathetic. If half our country gets to the polls we think we're doing a terrific job, meanwhile most of our peers have voter turnout of 70% and up. It's pathetic how much we take our rights for granted and then complain when our representatives don't represent us. If you don't pick them, someone who doesn't have your interests in mind will!

    I would like to see political discourse toned down, sure. But at the moment the political environment is pretty precarious as we have a head of state who shows little regard for the welfare of anyone who is not a wealthy, white, cisgendered male. If we are timid, or don't speak up about things that threaten our livelihood and/or peace of mind, we run the risk of normalizing the behaviors that oppress us.

    Re: Are we too over-politicized?

    I don't think we're too politicized. I think we're exactly as politicized as we're supposed to be given that the world is a huge dumpster fire. If we don't react to injustice, in the name of being polite, then we're probably the same kind of people who would have sat back and watched the holocaust and only thought about ourselves. If you're not pissed off, then it's not affecting you. And if you only get pissed off when things affect you, then you are selfish.

    Re: Are we too over-politicized?

    Dear Mr. Nash,

    "Are we just too overly political?" Yes and no. Yes, I am tired about having to reargue issues that I thought were settled back in the 1970s and no, I am not about to stop. The Right and the Left have disliked and mistrusted each other all the way back to the ratification of the Constitution. All we lacked was the convenience and anonymity of social media. Now we can have at it around the clock!

    I don't waste time trying to convince conservatives they can either change with the times or risk violent overthrow. I only communicate with my cohort, the fractious left. The other day as the election approached, I asked two Latina temps at work if they planned to vote. Between my cowboy Spanish and their halting English we established that they never voted. I pointed at my face and said, "See this? The reason your government looks like me is that people who look like me always vote. If you want your government to look like you, you have no choice but to vote." That won't immediately change their behavior but I think they spoke of it after I moved on.

    Imagine you were dancing with your significant other and s/he thought you were doing the opposite steps. If your partner is like my wife, she would not be shy to say "What are you doing?! That's wrong!!" In our case, the government and the electorate our out of step like two clumsy dance partners. The government pulls to the right while the electorate pulls to the left. Until those sides agree, you will have discord.

    Re: Are we too over-politicized?

    Hey Andy,
    Great topic and I couldn't agree with you more. It's become insane that every.single.thing has to become a political debate or some form of degrading another person because they think differently from you. Social media has become a toxic dumping zone for people to passively insult their friends or get in to nasty disputes with people they've never met before. I personally can't stand talking about politics any more. I can't stand that we have become a society that can't listen to the reasoning and justification of either end.

    In my personal opinion, I don't think we should be that political. I don't think there should be mental breakdowns of who is elected in office. I think the need for attention on social media has become the driver of this. I have many friends who think very differently from me and I love them for that. I love being challenged in the way I think and seeing a new perspective. I think we need to drop the "victim" of everything card and start being open minded and listen to what others have to say.

    The only way we can make a change is if we ARE the change and that starts with listening and also getting our political leaders OFF social media :)

    Thanks for the topic!

    Morgan

    Re: Are we too over-politicized?

    It seems that we use the term "political" as if it's synonymous with "agreeable". There's no denying that there are often ugly things said in political discourse, but that doesn't mean we should abandon the conversation. We need to stop labeling dialogues that make us uncomfortable "political" in an attempt to guilt people into silence.

    Re: Are we too over-politicized?

    Hey Andy!

    I agree that practically everything is politicized now. It is impossible to get through a day without having or witnessing a debate over something political. Things have changed over the past few years. People are offended over nearly everything. It is impossible to have a conversation without offending someone. One must be so careful of what they say, especially if they are in the public eye. We are supposed to be more accepting and more tolerant of others, yet our tolerance for other people's political views has become almost nonexistent. Many people feel the need to connect with one political party and support them unconditionally. They are so defensive about their political party that people can no longer agree to disagree. There are few intelligent conversations. Social media has given people the freedom to bash one another's beliefs relentlessly. It is seldom about an intelligent debate or even about getting people to see their side of things by providing facts to support their beliefs. It is merely a way for people to publicly attack one another. The anger level is so high from so many people. There is so much anger that nobody is actually listening to anybody else. There are merely looking for the next opportunity to attack.

    I enjoy a good healthy debate without all the anger. I don't expect to completely change someone's beliefs but I do hope that we can learn from one another. I think it is great to be passionate about one's beliefs but not to the extent of degrading other people in the process a point or political statement.

    Thanks for reading!

    Kyle

    Re: Are we too over-politicized?

    Hi Andy,

    I think the main issue is over politicization lacking in evidence. Often times people repeat what they have in heard in left wing, or right wing media without taking the time to do their own research. I understand it can be difficult between balancing work and home life. I think the most important thing is to remember that we can't change others, we can only improve ourselves. When someone presents a thought or idea, such as there should be more/less gun control, ask them why they think that way and then ask them for the data to back it up.

    I find that when confronted with a disagreement in opinion people don't always want to understand the other person's point of view. People nowadays are equating differences of opinion to microaggressions and hate speech.

    The best way to fix this is to be the one who makes an effort to understand where the other side is coming from, while also being the one to request tabling of the discussion for a better time.

    Thanks for the opportunity to have civil discourse!

    Nathan