I hear this all the time. If you like to talk politics with people, then you’ve heard it before as well. You start talking about an issue or about what party someone associates themselves with and the person who is obviously ecstatic to be engaging in conversation with you simply states “I like to see both sides” or “I’m a moderate/independent.”
This annoys me. Not because they are willing to see both sides, but because 1) they think that politics doesn’t pertain to them or doesn’t affect them at all just because they refuse to acknowledge that it exists and 2) they usually seem to think that they’re somehow better than you because they aren’t as opinionated or don’t take sides and alienate people.
What these fence-riders must know is that politics has EVERYTHING to do with everyone’s life because the decisions that politicians make affect the everyday lives of the citizens that are under the umbrella of it’s constituency. The fallacy that they present to themselves that says that if they just pretend that politics doesn’t exist that they won’t have to deal with it anymore is just that, a fallacy. If they want to lull themselves into a false sense of security from the political world, then they will only have a rude awakening when the political actors that their friends elected do something that REALLY pisses them off or hurts them. Then, when they finally want to get involved and do something about the state that this country is in, it will be far too late.
People are too afraid of coming across as opinionated today. You can be opinionated and still have intelligent conversations. These talk show hosts that sit on tv or radio and just bash other people while not even considering the other side have made those who have opinions out to be the bad guy in today’s world. If you have a set opinion about a political topic, then nobody wants to have a conversation with you because they believe that nothing they say will change your mind, so they keep quiet and avoid the topic altogether. Civil conversation about political issues and the free exchange of ideas is dead, and it’s showing up in Congress as well as in everyday life.
I personally know that the only people that I can have civil conversations about politics with are the ones who have the same passion for it that I do, and that individual is a dying breed. If more people would be willing to just sit down and bounce ideas and beliefs off of each other without having the intention of changing the other person’s mind and instead just trying to enlighten the rest of the actors in the conversation with a new perspective that they might not have thought about before, then we would have a much higher participation level than we do today. As it is, politics has become more of an emotional mind game in which our elected officials cheat each other and cheat us to try and get elected instead of doing what we send them there to do.
This moderate escape is something that I hate to hear in conversation, and it honestly just makes me want to stop talking to that person altogether whenever I hear it. Everyone has opinions and ideas and ways that they think about certain topics and issues, but everyone is so afraid to voice their opinions nowadays because they’re afraid that they’ll be criticized or thought to be stupid and belittled if they say something that someone doesn’t agree with. Meaningful conversation can really help everyone out and can give people perspectives that they didn’t have before, thus letting everyone walk away with a more enlightened state of mind and better off because of it.
So my challenge to everyone that reads this is as follows: If you get into a conversation with someone who doesn’t like to talk politics and they pull the “moderate” card, then try to get their opinions out of them. Don’t be critical, don’t judge, don’t put them down. Truly listen to what they have to say. Everyone else has experienced life on a different level than you, so they bring a completely unique perspective to the table. Present you opinion in a very palatable way and don’t try to force it on them. If you’re someone who doesn’t traditionally like to talk politics and the topic comes up in conversation, don’t shy away. Even if the people who you are with are being abrasive and are not being receptive to your ideas, just voice them anyway. Everyone deserves to be heard and to have their chance to talk.