I frequently see social media posts where people clearly state their thoughts about people with differing political views. I often wonder if the person making the post has really thought about everyone who may read it. What about the friendly person who works on the floor below them and passes them in the hall each morning? What about the person they see when they grab coffee each morning and then part to their separate ends of the hall? Or the person in the organization they joined in college whom they have not seen in several years? Do they know the political views of all of these individuals?
I doubt that much thought has been given to the different views of the individuals who might read their posts, but let’s assume for a second that they have. I would ask what the purposes of their statements are. It seems that it would be most beneficial to post an argument that would cause someone to consider a new point of view, especially if the reader disagreed with them. However, many posts that I see seem only to attack people with differing views, and they certainly aren’t convincing. People will ask that people remove them from their friends or unfollow them if them if they support a certain political candidate. Wouldn’t it be better to ask that person about their views and follow up with opposing ideas for their consideration?
While I have never done formal research on the subject, it seems to me that a person’s political views are often developed through their personal experiences. For instance, I grew up watching how certain policies affected my father’s work in the business world and how difficult owning a small business can be. I have also watched my family struggle to afford health care when certain laws were implemented. Some people have seen their loved ones hurt by other policies. Individuals who work in education or mental health fields also argue that certain lawmakers’ views would be damaging to their profession.
It seems it would be more productive to learn from each others’ views rather than making quick assumptions about groups of people with certain views or political leanings because of the extreme groups we see on the evening news. Perhaps a little more respect would cause others to listen to us, and maybe they would even change or modify their stance. At least, if we show respect for their viewpoint, they may have a better respect for ours, even if they still don’t agree.
Related post: Political Correctness and Forgiveness