“Dull November brings the blast, Then the leaves are whirling fast

early 19th century author Sara Coleridge.

Let’s get ready to Rumble!

Dinner Table Politics | News Media Watch Dog

Its my favorite type of November! An election November, ‘midterm elections’ edition . My mouth is fully agape from the political ads whirling across our screens. Everyone is taking everyone out of context, misquoting, or straight up lying about there opponent. I must admit that these 30-second displays of he said/she said vitriol  are pretty entertaining.

However I’m an informed voter, I know what they are doing, but most don’t. Ads represent the major way that candidates and outside groups end up communicating with the public — meaning that they are one of the few aspects of a campaign that the candidate or group can actually control. So what they choose to focus on seems worth analyzing, even if it’s your candidate.

Do as we say, not as we do….

The rules of etiquette go out the window for campaigning politicians however. Since the first elections candidates have berated and smeared their opponents in the most public of settings. Ironically, the etiquette in  political discussion requires an obscene amount of decorum and restraint among us regular folk.

1940’s Anti Roosevelt Poster

1860’s Anti Lincoln Poster

1980’s Anti Reagan Poster
Anti Obama Posters
2010’s Anti Obama Poster

Odds are that several of your co-workers, neighbors and relatives have political views unlike your own. I know that’s the case for me. So remember, it’s not only about the issues we debate, it’s also about those with whom we debate.

Wow, the weather has been crazy huh?!

What to Argue About with Your Family this Holiday Season - Broke-Ass  Stuart's Website

When a controversial issue comes up in conversation, ask yourself these questions before engaging:

  • Are you well-informed on the candidates’ platforms and history?
  • Is it the appropriate time and setting? (Its Family time now, and you know how Uncle Joe get when he drunk)
  • Will your host be put off? ( the rainbow flag in the window might be a sign NOT to go over Trumps  “accomplishments” tonight)
  • Do you want to get involved? (My Grandma would say “only speak if your gonna help”)
  • Have you considered the consequences? (Are your Liberal in-laws at the table? Is your MAGA loving Boss?)
  • Can you remain calm and listen without interrupting? (no need to go all ‘Jan 6th’ at Thanksgiving Dinner)
  • Are you in the company of people who can agree to disagree? ( Again, Uncle Joe is saucey off that eggnog)
 Democrats as a threat to law and order
Republicans as a threat to health care and preexisting conditions coverage

When asked, “Who are you voting for?” or similarly prying questions, you can always go full avoidance mode and try:

  • “My mother told me never to discuss money or politics.”
  • “Politics?Now? It’s a time for Family.”
  • “Can we just watch the game and relax.”
  • “I’m voting for the one with a soul/conscience/brain.”

“Your’re a what?! I’m not your friend anymore!!”

How to Have a Political Argument With Family and Friends

Political parties and views are not reason enough to end a relationship with someone. Thomas Jefferson said, “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy as cause for withdrawing from a friend,” and the same applies to family. ( OK, we know he owned mad slaves but we’ll ignore that for a moment to take in this little message)

As the Holidays approach, many of you might be filled with dread about the reality of sitting opposite a parent or sibling who is your polar opposite in beliefs. At the same time, there is much to be vocal about and fight for. A good debate is healthy, stimulating and democratic.

“Democracy is a Verb!” – John Mayer Voice

The difference between a democracy where citizens watch rather than being active (Venezuela) and a democracy that operates with an understanding of active and effective citizenship like ours is very obvious. It is impossible to be a self-governing country by acting as mere spectators. I applaud all active participation. However , removing all dissidents and opposite ways of thought are the first moves of tyranny.

Democracy is a system which finds a ground for survival by the existence of people who talk to and listen to one another about social problems and shape a brighter future. Above all, democracy means that the solution of problems is sought in negotiations, politics and interpersonal communication between opposites. Democracy is a process. A process about the rules of co-existence, living with and tolerating each other. ( Not shouting each other down, and gotcha questions.) For Democracy to fulfill all of it’s functions, existence of a society that consists of people that are tolerant and respectful of differences is a necessity. As well as legal and constitutional guarantees that will enable free unfiltered public debate.

Healthy debate, healthy Democracy

Debate is not about changing minds or using all one’s energy to get the point across, or having the last word. It’s about growth and equal exchange. Let the other party speak. Ask pertinent questions. In a calm voice, practice good verbal conduct by using “I” statements when expressing your views about a candidate, party or other issues you are in support of. An ill-suited setting, tone or delivery undermines the issues you are campaigning for, which will do little to enlighten others. Be genuine always. Don’t try to purposely trigger. And for God’s sake’s don’t “Straw-man” ( it’s on par with sabotoge). When possible, find and acknowledge commonalities of candidates of opposing parties. I promise you if you look there is plenty of common ground. Americans are pretty much in accord 90% of the time, its the ‘hot topics’ that are the lightning rods of division.

Is Bad News Biased? How Poll Reporting Affects Perceptions of Media Bias  and Presumed Voter Behavior | Media | Politics | Debate

I’m all for moving away from the charged political atmosphere that has grown exponentially in recent years. If I have any platform, it’s for easy voter registration, civility and informed voters. As well as freedom of speech, self and to disagree. Intimidation and political violence have no place in our democracy.  What makes America great is our ability to come to the table and unite for a common cause. That is why we are the UNITED states, with all our differences and our variations, still UNITED WE always STAND. Indivisible, with justice for all – VOTE!

Senators Grasp for a Bipartisan Gun Deal, Facing Long Odds - The New York  Times
 A bipartisan group of demonstrators in favor of trying to reach a deal on modest steps to limit access to guns at the Capitol

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