An updated version of something written 18 months ago. Because it’s still relevant and needed, and unfortunately (and probably predictably), more so.
The first votes that count in the 2020 election were cast last night in Iowa.
So, as we hurtle toward the tsunami that is present-day election campaigning, a few suggestions:
1) Debate passionately, but don’t mock.
Mockery does two things: 1) it makes for very shareable material, and 2) it reveals insecurity.
Strong arguments don’t require insults.
Mockery’s audience is always the convinced. It’s loud timidity and intellectually weak. Entertaining? Yes. Persuasive? Rarely.
Let’s refuse to engage in it. Let’s argue better.
2) Debate face-to-face.
Show me someone who’s constantly arguing online about politics and I’ll show you someone who probably doesn’t have many converts.
There’s something sobering about sitting down face-to-face with someone who looks at things differently and talking about those differences. At the end of the day, neither mind may be changed, but the person may look a little less like the enemy.
Is it naive to believe in common ground? Maybe. But closer proximity makes grenades less likely, and humanity more visible.
Ditch digital histrionics. Listen and talk. I dare you.
3) Don’t base your life on your politics.
Political stuff is important. It affects a lot of people. But there are things more important. Things that you and I have so much more control over.
Take back the remote from the news cycle. Be informed but not consumed. Your mood, your outlook, your attitude… you control these.
Please, vote. But remember, your side’s gonna win, and your side’s gonna lose. Be excited or sad, but please, live.
We’re in the season. We can’t stop it. But may the absurdity of the moment remind us of more important things. Things far more sacred, far more permanent, and far more significant than the result of a campaign.