March 2nd, 2009


Political Arguments: Shirking The Challenge Of Our Rivals

I don't particularly enjoy talking politics with friends (or, rather, more specifically FAMILY), not because I don't enjoy a good argument. Indeed, the thrill of the hunt, zeroing in on your prey, biding your time as they dither about on their talking points, aiming your rifle, adjusting the scope to ensure a lethal killshot, and firing your backbreaking salvo to win the debate or at least leave them writhing on the floor of total annihilation; I'm telling you, there's nothing like it. All the better if you find your opponent to be a most disagreeable little harpy who, were he on fire, you'd gladly sequester your urine rather than utilize it to douse the flames.

But, if you're generally friendly with the person you're arguing with, you don't want to stomp them in the ground for a couple reasons. Primarily, because you have a soft spot for that person and you don't want to see them get hurt. But also - perhaps even more importantly, though not at the forefront of your priorities at the time - because you're afraid of what might come out of that person's prejudice-ravaged brain.

With family, you're kinda stuck. You can't get away from these people, so there's no point in arguing in the first place. Either you walk away having accomplished nothing except enraging the bitter ball lying dead center in your gut, or you bite your tongue, listening to their ignorant raving, and then quickly change the subject to prevent the spewing of your righteous, coherent ranting.

Mostly, I just don't like arguing ideology period because there's no way you can ever win. You're talking about someone's beliefs here. The only way you can win those arguments is if you're an attractive woman and the man is trying to get in your pants. Then, Christ, you could deny the Holocaust and he'll probably blast Spielberg as a lunatic. But, if you take sexual relations out of the equation, then you're fighting against years, even decades, of slow-cooked prejudiced opinion that has solidified into a thick cement-like stew of stupidity.

Really, what's the point? One argument isn't going to change a lifetime's worth of thinking. If you come across someone who says homosexuality is a choice, how the hell am I going to sit down and prove them wrong? What am I going to point to as irrefutable evidence of something I know nothing about, given my status as a woman-loving heterosexguy? For every anthology citing homosexuality as being born in the womb, there's another touting ways to "save" gays from their impure urges. You can get into the nuts and bolts of who's behind what literature, but when you're dealing with faith, when you're dealing with belief (which, really, is all that your Opinion boils down to), you're not going to stymie them with books and reason.

With friends, or lovers, it's even worse. I suppose a good, long political discussion is pertinent early in the relationship, but what happens if it doesn't come up? What happens if, a year or two down the line, you find out that this friend you've made doesn't like Jews or something? Now, that reflects on you, because you've let your guard down, your filtering system has malfunctioned, and you've somehow become friends with a bigot.

At this point, you have to ask yourself: how important are politics to you and your relationship? What if your best friend has been lying to you all the time they've known you, and you find out his secret life has him a member of the KKK? This subject has never come up in discussion, and under normal circumstances it never would. But, how does the knowing affect your friendship? Really, how often would you find yourself discussing race-relations anyway?

Luckily, I seem to have friends who check out in this regard. I don't think I have to worry about white hoods or swastikas. My family is another matter, but for the most part - outside of the occasional drunken podcast - I don't have to worry about uncomfortable discourse. And as for those who I'm leery of, I just tend to avoid them whenever we're in the same gathering. I have my opinions, but I like to keep them to myself (and yes, I consider this forum to be Keeping To Myself, because I'm not forcing anyone to read). In the end, the ignorant are not worth your time or your breath.