Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Talking Politics with Dad


I spoke to my father today. Self-described as socially liberal, fiscally conservative. Living in Houston/San Antonio, Texas. I asked him about his thoughts on the current political climate and about his interaction with people around him. Some of what he said made me want to contradict, while other times I felt like cheering him on. The bold sentences are things that he contributed, those not in bold are my thoughts, some of which I said in conversation, some of which I thought about later. The object of this and other discussions like it are primarily for my own growth, though I hope that perhaps they may find their way into helping others.

Don't let what you cannot change consume you. I think we can all agree that this advice is necessary for all of us. If we cared too deeply about everything that was out of our control, we would be a mess. I think it's important not to take this too far by assuming that everything is out of our own control. We each have power to create change. So, yes, don't let the negative forces that be suffocate you, but don't be neutral, either. 

Don't interact with people whose minds are made up. While my first reaction to my dad's advice is to say, "no!", I think he has a point. He told anecdotes of very stubborn people spouting their opinion, to which he disengaged from the conversation (probably what people do to me regularly). Putting energy into these people will only drain you when you could be using that energy to create a more meaningful impact. 

Use logic when you think that someone's mind is open to change. My dad is a very logical thinker. This bit of advice sounds simple at first, but it can be challenging--especially when some people seem devoid of logic in their arguments. I think this can tie in to asking questions. Use logic, and ask specific questions related to that logic and challenge people to react. Basically, I need to get better at building my arguments. 

Republicans won't just let Trump do what he wants. Right, I agree, but I'm also concerned that human rights will not be their primary concern, either. 

His twitter is entertaining. Except when you realize that he has the nuclear football and power to do many other scary things. 

You can be a good person and change what you can. Very true. But we have the power to change so much, or at least push hard for that change. Sometimes balancing goals with reality can be challenging, and I often question myself--am I doing enough? 

The two-party system pits us in a corner. We have an old constitution, and the world has changed since then. It probably won't change in either of our lifetimes. True that, Dad. 

Don't obsess over Facebook or Sunday news stations. No Facebook for me! I've been balancing between hiding under the covers to avoid hearing the news to consuming it more rapidly and deeply than ever before. It's all about productivity. I'm learning, but when does my learning become saturated and take away time from actually doing?

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