We all know about the folks on Facebook who simply must post their political opinions, and then of course someone who feels differently will then proceed to comment and tell them how they’re wrong, which naturally escalates into an argument, and then 50 million other people will jump in, and so on and so forth. Not to mention Thanksgiving dinner conversations. Dear Aunt Polly will probably call you an awful person for disagreeing or agreeing with the death penalty. And then of course that will be a lovely escalating debate over a plate of dry turkey and “homemade” Cranberry sauce everyone knows came from a can. And then your relatives probably won’t be speaking to each other for at least three months. So this begs the question, how does one argue politics without making everyone hate you? Read on, young grasshopper.
Just because you disagree, does not make anyone’s opinion less important or valid than your own. Just be respectful.
Ad Hominem. What is that you ask? Simply put- name calling. Calling Uncle Billy Bob a moron, idiot, or worse will not strengthen your argument, nor will it make him inclined to listen to what you have to say. If someone was trying to get you to buy a product, they wouldn’t call you a stupid idiot, because they know you wouldn’t buy their product. Similarly, if you are trying to persuade someone to feel as you do, or argue a certain point, calling them names and insulting their character or intelligence will not endear them to your way of thinking.
Believe it or not, yelling your argument is not going to accomplish anything. Keep your tone respectful and even. Yelling does not make people inclined to listen to what you have to say, and honestly just makes them even angrier. Remain calm. Politics are not worth a heart attack.
You can spout your opinion all day long, but the fact of the matter is, opinions cannot be proved. Facts can. Use them as much as possible. One may be able to dispute the statement “Richard Nixon was the worst president ever.” But mentioning the Watergate Scandal is far less disputable. Watergate happened. There’s proof. It backs up your opinion. It’s easier to argue your views on politics when the facts back you up.
If you have clearly been proven to be incorrect on a certain point, just admit it. Humble yourself. You don’t know everything, and you never will. There is absolutely no shame in being wrong sometimes.
There is no shame in admitting you lack knowledge on a certain topic. For example, if someone thinks Congress should be smaller and asks your position on this topic, but you don’t know anything about the US government, just concede that you are uninformed on that topic. Otherwise, you’re argument will sound arrogant, be full of opinions, and lack sway with anyone at all. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”
If the other person you are arguing with is clearly uninterested in having an intellectual debate where both parties are respectful and knowledgeable, it might be best for you to leave the conversation. When the other person/people start yelling, name-calling, and completely disregarding everything you have to say, even when you have been respectful and factual, that is when you should bow out. Firing back will accomplish nothing but causing you to look just as ignorant as the other person. This will not strengthen your argument. Perhaps you can resume the debate at a later date.
But you don’t have to make everyone hate you. Exercise these tips to strengthen your political debates, as well as arguments in general!
Y’all have a great day!
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