I regularly engage in political discussions, here on Facebook and elsewhere. I’ve noticed a number of common themes in these discussions, so I thought I could save a lot of time and energy by establishing some of my positions in advance.
1. I don’t hate you. You may find this hard to believe, but I can and do separate my political beliefs from my personal relationships.
2. I don’t hate America. This is one I hear all the time: “All liberals hate America” or other variants, along with variants on “Obama tried to bring down democracy” and “Obama hated America.” I love this country, and I know you do, too. The way I show my love for my country is personal to me, just like yours.
3. I don’t want to ban guns. If we could do it all over again, I’d rather that we view guns the way the UK does (pretty much no one has them), but I know that ship sailed 240 years ago. I am not at all opposed to private gun ownership. You and I might disagree about whether you need a 30-round clip, but I support your right to own guns and ammunition.
4. I accept that Clinton may have done bad stuff. However, I don’t believe that any of the bad stuff she did is relevant to *today’s political situation*. If you want to see her prosecuted for crimes she may have committed, I accept that. Just don’t conflate it with anything that might be going on *today*.
5. I don’t think you’re stupid. This comes up way too often in political discussions. I very much want to know what you’re thinking and why. If I sound dismissive of your opinions, that’s bad, and I truly hope I don’t. But you will never, ever hear me dismiss your opinions because I don’t think you’re smart enough to express them.
6. I will never call you names, and I expect the same from you. I’m not a libtard. I’m not a Dumbocrat. I’m not an “idiot lefty” (something I was just called a few minutes ago). If you call me names, don’t expect me to engage you in any discussion. I won’t pigeonhole or generalize about you; please show me that same respect.
7. In the context of a discussion about Trump, I don’t care what you think about Obama. Everything else I’ve said here probably sounds reasonable and measured, and this doesn’t. I’m really, really big on staying on topic. If you want to discuss Obama, feel free to bring it up in its own context and I’m happy to discuss. But whatever Obama may or may not have done is only relevant if the underlying issue specifically relates to the current discussion (and this also applies to anything Bill Clinton did). It doesn’t excuse any actions by Trump, nor does it diminish such actions.
8. You can support your guy without defending everything he does. I voted for Obama, but there were plenty of things he did that I opposed, some vocally and vehemently. I suspect that, even if you are Trump’s most ardent supporter, you’ve seen him say or do things that you don’t agree with. Your support for him isn’t diminished if you don’t come to his defense when he’s wrong.
9. I am over the election. I was honestly appalled that Trump won, and there was a long period, well after his inauguration, during which I remained incredulous that he was president. But the election is over, he won and I accept that. I am intensely opposed to many of his policies and actions, and I’ll express these as I see them. I felt the same way about many of the things that GWB did, although I felt less passionately about them than I do about Trump. But just to be clear – if you believe that I feel the way I do on any given topic because I’m butthurt over Trump’s win, you’re missing the point.
10. You and I want the same things – we just see a different path to get there. I'll do my best to keep this in mind when we talk, and I'd appreciate if you would do the same.