Growing up I heard my parents discuss various political candidates and parties. My mom would say, "Oh, Maurice! How can you even think like that!" And my dad would reply, " Your guy's an idiot." Then they'd laugh and go on to something else. Both of them, however, refused to discuss their vote on election day. The secret ballot was both their right and their pride.
There are some sites I've stopped reading because the same people say the same thing every time they contribute, usually with heat and often with vulgarity. It's worrisome because I wonder if anyone is searching for facts before forming an opinion.
I have also stopped talking about politics in certain groups, particularly when I know one of the member hotheads will be there. That's sad because rational discussion on the grass roots level is what has always moved opinions.
But there are groups where I see polite discussion taking place. One person will voice an opinion and be asked where the facts come from to support it. I particularly like it when the response includes not only the source but also the reporter/organization/news outlet that dug out those facts.
I go to my computer and check those facts, although there are few on-line fact-checking sites that I trust. It's always nice to find something that supports my own opinions but I want to know the other side as well. One of our project managers said, "These are very complex issues and cannot be reduced to a sound bite." How true that is! And how often it happens!
I worry about civic organizations, colleges, volunteer groups where the power holders force an opinion on the members who don't dare disagree.
Where do you feel comfortable discussing your political stances? Have you found sites where people can disagree without launching a screed?
Are you free to share an unpopular opinion in class, at the office, in the neighborhood, on campus? Are there physical groups where diatribes are suppressed and people discuss rather than yell? Please share them here?!