Political discussions that get hot are nothing new. There’s an old mantra that the three things you should never discuss at cocktail parties are sex, religion, and politics. And if your family is like mine, there have probably been plenty of family fights over politics. If you know my family, then you are likely familiar with the infamous “go to war” fight my parents had (my dad is a pretty conservative guy; my mom is a liberal lady).
But it seems that after Barack Obama was elected, political arguments started to take a turn for the really nasty. And since the election of Donald Trump, the fights have become absolutely vicious and downright divisive. I see it firsthand. I see people in my family being horrible to each other because of differences in political ideologies. I see friends of many years hurling the most awful and personal of insults at each other over differing political agendas. And the fights happen in person sometimes but too often on social media which invites a gang mentality — people feel the need to rally around their peeps and defend them which just escalates the situation. And it’s all so public and won’t ever go away when people screen shot the discussions or they come up every year in your Facebook memories (if that’s where the fight took place).
The vitriol that often accompanies the expression of one’s political opinions keeps many people going the opposite direction — keeping their mouths shut and their opinions to themselves. I tend to fall into that category, only sharing my thoughts on politics with a select few people. Not because I only surround myself with those who agree with me. I do it to avoid the personal attacks that come with me putting myself in such a vulnerable position. I know that some would find fault with me for keeping quiet. I get it. But I am the kind of person who takes things quite personally, so I find it easier to just shut up.
Sigh. Politics are exhausting.