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Manners Matter: Political Tug of War

By Mary Pat

Dear Mary Pat,

The political season is heating up already and everywhere I go there is talk of the debates, who is still in the race, who is out, and we still have a year to go! I have very strong political convictions, however, I would rather not discuss them while waiting for my son to finish with football practice, while at the grocery store, or heaven forbid, at the Thanksgiving table. Not all of my friends, neighbors and family are going to agree with me and that’s OK. Sadly, I’m already more than a little fatigued from the endless speculation and unfortunately, political arguments. There is one acquaintance on Facebook who I just unfriended since I couldn’t deal with the hatred he was spewing on a bi-hourly basis. Why do people need to bring this all up? What ever happened to keeping politics off the table for discussion?

Signed,

Political Tug of War

Sevastopol, Wis.

 

Dear Political Tug of War,

Personally, I try really hard not to discuss politics, especially when I know a friend or family member doesn’t vote the same way that I do. We all see the issues so differently and I have to remind myself of that regularly.

The thing about all these Facebook posts and political debates (among friends, not the ones on TV)is that they rarely have the effect that people are looking for. In other words, if I read a joke or a snarky Facebook post that doesn’t align with my politics, I’m not likely going to change my mind, which is maybe what the person who posted it was hoping for. My beliefs are just as ingrained as the guy’s posting the funny or rude comment. If it’s funny I will laugh. If it’s rude, I will roll my eyes and move on. Some of this talk and social sharing can be harmless and some can really damage relationships. There was a local person in a position of leadership who posted vicious political opinions on his personal page and not only did I think a lot less of him as a leader, I un-friended him. I encourage you to do the same. It’s usually a small bunch that keeps this going and you might want to limit your time with people who like to bait and debate you. And don’t forget the option of un-following someone; that alone can clean up your newsfeed quite nicely.

Good luck,

Mary Pat

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