Monday, July 18, 2016

The art of arguing gracefully...

Yesterday, I posted about my friends who are bound and determined to challenge other peoples' political beliefs on Facebook.  Later, I found an article about third party voting that I thought was interesting.  I shared it among my friends.  Someone wrote that they didn't like Gary Johnson as a candidate.  My response was this.

The point is, you should vote for the person you think will do the best job. Personally, I like Gary Johnson, but your mileage may vary. If you prefer Jill Stein or someone else, go for it.

My friend responded that she's planning to write in Bernie Sanders.  I think that's very fine and said so.  Another person tried to tell me why I shouldn't vote for Gary Johnson.  I wrote this.

Nope, I'm voting for Gary. He won't win, but he comes closest to the person I think can do a good job.

Someone else came along and wrote a long entry about why I should be voting for Hillary Clinton.  I responded thusly.

You should vote for whomever you want. I will do the same. As I wrote before, I am not interested in other adults trying to school me on which candidate I should choose. I am capable of deciding that for myself. Thanks.

He came back and wrote this.

That seems short-sighted: I *am* interested in being schooled. It's how I learn. And indeed, it's why I was able to change my mind in this case.

I became annoyed and replied with this.

Well, good for you. I'm glad you appreciate being schooled by other people on the Internet and it's had a positive effect on your voting choices. How open-minded of you. I see things differently and would hope my friends would respect my right to make my own choices. Otherwise, I'm going to assume that you think I'm stupid and that's not a sentiment that seems very friendly to me.

I don't know how I can make it any plainer.  I can make up my own mind.  I am capable of learning about the different candidates.  I am not interested in a political debate or defending my choices to other people.  I simply want to exercise my right to vote without harassment from others.  But, I suppose I caused this by sharing stuff on my wall.  Most people don't read very carefully and those who do read often have little respect for other peoples' views.  They just want to pop off with their bullshit. 

I'm feeling pretty depressed and anxious this morning.  I have a lot on my mind.  Dealing with people who clearly don't respect me isn't helping.  I don't have a problem with people voting for Hillary or the Donald.  I may not agree with them, but it's not up to me to change their minds.  It would be a waste of time and energy, especially since most people have their reasons as to why they feel the way they do.  Their reasons are important to them and you stand little chance of changing their viewpoint unless you handle them delicately.  Many people can't or won't do that.

The person I quoted approached me in a way that was insulting and condescending.  I made it clear before he posted that I wasn't interested in an argument.  He chose to either not read what I wrote or simply ignore it.  That's blatant disrespect.  When you start off by blatantly disrespecting someone else, you run a very high risk of having them close their mind to anything you say.  People who approach me with condescension and sanctimony don't get my attention and can't change my mind.  They simply irritate me.  I am much more likely to listen to people who come at me on an equal level and communicate with respect for my opinions.

While I do prefer Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump, my preference for her is not much higher.  I really think she should ride off into the sunset and let someone else run for president.  She strikes me as a very narcissistic person.  If I were voting in a swing state, I would vote for her only because she clearly has more experience in the political arena than Donald Trump does.  But I don't have a lot of respect for her personally and I really am tired of the same families ending up in the White House.  I think our country is in dire need of someone else leading it.  Moreover, my vote is not going to be coming from a swing state, so it really doesn't matter anyway.  It's highly unlikely that my vote would be the deciding vote regardless.

My friend's reasons for voting for Hillary may be important.  I might even agree with him that they are important.  But, at this point, I don't think they are important enough for me to change my mind.  And even if they were, I don't care to have discussions with people whose approach is that my opinion is invalid or wrong and assume that I have not educated myself enough because I didn't come to the same conclusions they did.  

If someone I have respect for presents their case to me in a way that is logical and sensible, I might change my mind.  But I don't respect people who don't respect me.  This fellow doesn't respect me and never has, so I'm not open to hearing his thoughts.  My guess is that he's not open to hearing mine, either, even though he claims he seeks to be "schooled".  Somehow, I really doubt it based on his attitude.  He only seeks to be schooled by people whose opinions he respects.  That's how I feel, too.  I figure I have the right.  I guess that's one place where we have some common ground.


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