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Friday, 15 July 2016

When Should You Argue?

Have you ever been part of a conversation that made you uncomfortable, but you didn't know what to do?


Recently I was meeting a friend of a friend, and the conversation, as it can often do, turned to politics. Now politics is a tricky subject at the best of times, since when people disagree they tend to do it vehemently and keep in mind that I'm currently in the United States where the momentum of campaigns is probably best described as volcanic. In this conversation, and I'm generalising here for the sake of anecdote, the person I was talking to was pro-Trump and anti-immigration.

Now you may have seen that I don't talk too much about my political beliefs on here, because I think that such conversations are better had in person where nuance can flourish, but it would be fair to say that I am the complete opposite: I hate Trump with a fiery passion (even if I thought his economic policies were good, I can never look past his hate fuelled speeches and divisive campaigning) and believe that my country and many countries in the world benefit hugely from the people that choose to take up resident t/here (you can probably tell my opinions on Brexit, huh?). 

But what could I say? 

It was a pleasant summers morning and I was only present in the conversation because a friend was visiting and wanted to catch up with her friend who happened to live near by. To get into a raging politics debate over the breakfast table would have been rude and unproductive. I felt guilty for not defending the people that were being (in my opinion) unfairly stereotyped, but awkward about doing anything other than trying to agree as little as possible whilst remaining polite. It was a thoroughly difficult situation, and not the first time that I had encountered something like this.

When we passionately believe in something, we want everyone to share our view - particularly if it is something that can be damaging to others. There is, without doubt, a space for debate. We should be discussing these topics, and sharing our point of view. I want to make the world a more friendly and inclusive place and that means getting into debates, but should it come at the cost of personal relationships?

I really don't have the answer here, except to say that silence can be powerful. Silence itself can be a form of dissent, a subtle indicator of disagreement, and in that situation it was the best I could do.

What do you think: Should we always argue for our beliefs? 


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4 comments:

  1. I don't think we should always argue our beliefs but I'm saying that because I know people personally who will shove their opinion in your face as soon as look at you and it leaves a sour taste in ones mouth when you think of them in the same content as 'friend'. We should embrace debate but also that our peers have different opinions and your not going to change their mind just by disagreeing.

    Mel ★ meleaglestone.co.uk

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    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Mel! I think so often when we debate we only have the purpose of changing people's minds, but sometimes we have to respect their beliefs.

      Liza xx

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  2. Such an interesting post, it can be tricky to know what to say (or not to say) sometimes, especially when it comes to politics. I worked as a Poll Clerk for the referendum and we had a fair few people come in and state their views, most of which I disagreed with, but I kept quiet because Poll Clerks have to remain neutral (outwardly, anyway!) xx

    Toasty

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    1. That's so interesting Beth, thank you for telling me and your lovely comment! It must have been difficult to stay quiet with such a charged vote, but it's a good reminder that sometimes it's professionally necessary.

      Liza xx

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts with me. I read and reply to each and every one.

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