How to debate politics without being a complete jerk

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Next stop is government control education State run similar as Russia

Government are running scared if the younger generation Learn the truth
Realise how much fake information/ news our
papers and politicians have in circulation
Been taught how politically parties should work
And has work from 1945 yes with a few errors
But with 80% honest people we / world were proud
of the U. K. Government

An unbiased politics class please

I think that a politics class should only inform students of the facts and events, Ensuring student know when they have a complete picture of a topic before formulating their own opinions on said topic. I think that the question is not whether we should have a politics class, But how do we make one as unbiased as possible.

Yong Adults need to vote!

Many young adults do not vote. I feel that this is the result of the fact that they don’t understand Politics. The reason they don’t understand is either because they are not interested or they are afraid to have an opinion. The days of parents passing politics on to their children being the most likely way in politics needs to come to an end. And adults need a chance to form their own opinions so our society can progress and move forward on a continuous basis

A compulsory GCSE

In politics is important because the ability to engage with many aspects of society assumes a certain level of knowledge which many young people don’t have. If the majority of people don’t know how to evaluate and critique their government policy, governments will continue to walk over their voters. It is in the UK’s best interests that politics at school is mandatory

Teens are our future

Politics should be taught in high school. If your old enough to drive and to vote, you should be able to handle politics. I don’t know why society looks down on politics. Reality show hosts (like Ellen) degrade it and insult it. Our generation should know who their voting for.

It should be included in every civics class.

The curriculum should be non-biased, of course; teachers would have to be able to communicate with their students about political topics without letting their personal opinions influence it. But I know if you create a more politically literate population it would extremely benefit people not only personally, but voters would actually know what they were voting about and on come November.

Educated Aware Society

We have a population that is abused by the newsroom’s opinion of what is going on. Political education would make a better democracy for America. We would have a society that wouldn’t be fooled or manipulated my shrewd politicians. America is a democracy, but it really needs to be improved.

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Unless it’s unbiased, It should STAY OUT!

The politics in my states high school are very biased towards a certain belief. My son comes home a lot to tell my how he’s bullied because he supports the current president, Even by the school system. He gets a lot of reports of him being homophobic and racist, And the school believes these false claims all of the time. When we go in and explain that it’s a lie, The school does not give the lying students any punishment, Even though they are using the political bias of the school system that certain people are racist because of beliefs to harass and bully my son. Biased politics in school create a vacuum between it’s students and creates unjust prejudice.

Politics should definitely not be taught in schools

It is stupid to think that students will entirely look up to their teachers, It should not be taught at schools, Students’ parents should tech them, Not someone paid to teach students a specific thing, That in itself could bring up problems, Like all the students voting for liberal all of a sudden!

Students should form their own opinion not have it taught to them

You should be able to form your own political views without feeling pressured to choose what someone else thinks. You shouldnt have to think what anyone else thinks because political views are opinions not facts. Also students shouldnt be scared to choose their political views or be scared to talk about them

Politics should not be taught in public schools

Too immature, too easlily influenced, not enough life experience. I had no idea what was working in this country nor did I know what was not. I was taught by great educators and they seemed to really care. But I would never in a million years want another person cramming personal political views down my child’s throat. It is impossible to teach unbiased politics due to at heart being a very passionate topic. These things should be learned over time through discussions with many different people. Close friends family starngers

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Good idea in theory, bad in practice.

It should not be mandatory. It should be definitely offered as some type of extracurricular club or something, but the school only teaches it if they WANT to. Even if it’s supposed to be non-partisan, unbaised politics, it could turn bad if the schools are mandated to do it. My school does it, but they aren’t required to, so it helps maintain its neutrality. If it’s mandated, the government could also mandate what be taught (because of Common Core), and the politics that are taught would roughly correspond with the political stance of the government at that time.

We need to be more educated on politics, but it should more so fall under “current events”, and let the students formulate their OWN opinions before sharing the official ones; rather than falling under “politics”, and expressing all the current opinions before the students come up with their own.

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How to debate politics without being a complete jerk

Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

The first presidential debate is happening tonight and you can watch it here. However, once the candidates are done debating, you might find yourself in a debate of your own. If you want this discussion to be more productive than your last argument on Facebook, here are some strategies to help make sure you don’t walk away stressed out, having wasted your time and energy.

You don’t have to debate. It’s optional. Unless you’re one of the presidential candidates, you don’t have to do this.

Are you still with us? Still got a good reason to have this debate even though you’re not obligated to? Cool. Keep reading.

When politicians debate on stage, they’re not trying to convince each other of their arguments. They’re trying to convince you, the viewer. Their arguments are structured around accomplishing that goal. If you’re going to debate someone else, it’s helpful for you to make similar decisions about what you want to accomplish.

If you’re arguing in, say, a Facebook comment thread, then you might not have a very good chance at changing the mind of the person you’re debating. But the other people who may be reading are a different matter. Staying conscious of those people can help you keep your cool even when your opponent just. won’t. listen.

This can also help you avoid getting sucked into lengthy unproductive diatribes. If you just want to make sure everyone knows that something someone said is wrong, you can hop in, drop some facts, and bounce before things get ugly. It’s not your job to convince everyone! But you can undermine your own credibility if you get into an all-out fight trying to convince someone who can’t be convinced. Have a plan before you get involved about what you want to accomplish and who you want to affect before you start reaching for the Caps Lock key.

You might have heard the phrase “straw man” to describe a bad-faith debate technique where your opponent makes up a version of your argument that you don’t actually believe, and debates that instead. It’s not great practice and you should probably avoid that. But even better than not straw-manning someone’s argument is to intentionally steel man it instead.

“Steel man,” as the name implies, is when you try to find the strongest version of your opponent’s argument to debate against. It’s great if you can get your opponent to agree on a proposition first—for example, “Is your position that raising taxes is always bad?”—but you can also accomplish this by doing your research ahead of time.

As a general (though by no means absolute) rule, if you’re getting your argument from someone who is debunking a claim, it might not be the best form of the argument. For example, “These morons think global warming was made up by China!” is probably not the best version of the argument. However, if you can find the specific claims that your opponent actually believes, then you can be better equipped to respond to them.

Have you ever found yourself in an argument where you start out debating one thing and 20 minutes later you’re on something else entirely? You started by talking about the deficit, but somehow you’ve landed on immigration, and every time you make a point, your opponent changes the subject, or focuses on some tiny portion of your response that was inelegantly phrased, rather than recognizing your argument as a whole. By the end, you’ve laid out all the facts you have and still gotten nowhere.

When this happens, it’s often because your opponent is playing a very different game than you are. They’re posturing. YouTube channel Innuendo Studios describes this strategy as never playing defense, and it tends to turn up when pretending like you’re winning is a more viable way to win over the audience than proving you’re right. The goal of posturing is to force your opponent to keep answering short, incorrect statements with long, detailed answers because it’s easier for an audience to understand the short accusation than the long detailed explanation.

If you’re in a formal debate situation—which most of us rarely are—one of the best ways to deal with this kind of posturing debate style is to stay focused and don’t let yourself get lost in the weeds. If the subject is taxes, stay focused on taxes. And if you find a weak point in their argument, don’t let go just because they’d rather talk about something else.

However, if you’re not in a public debate, one of the best ways to defeat this strategy is not to play. It doesn’t make you less intellectually honest to ignore bad faith accusations from randos on Twitter.

If you’re not arguing in public—a mercifully more tolerable experience—and instead talking to someone one-on-one, then your goal in a debate might be to change the mind of the person you’re talking to. And at least here, you’ve got a decent chance at it, but not if you blow it by being hostile right out of the gate.

Instead, try asking more questions. It sounds like a simple change, but your argument can be a lot more persuasive when you gently lead the other person there, rather than pummel them over the head with it. For example, saying “Do you think healthcare should be tied to employment?” can be more persuasive than trying to go through every point of the other guy’s healthcare plan point by point and “proving” why they’re bad.

This strategy tends to work because when you ask questions, not only do you come across as less hostile, but it positions the points of the debate as something to think about. Someone can ignore the factual arguments you lay out, waiting for their turn to get a word in, but if you ask a question, they have to come up with an answer. The more they have to think about answering the question, the more likely they might be to come around to your way of thinking.

If you’re going to debate like you’ve got the facts on your side, you should probably get those facts first. A common trap that online arguments fall into, though, is trying to find facts in real time. This can lead to disaster if you find out halfway through an argument that you don’t have all the information. It sounds obvious but if you want to debate a topic, take some time to learn about it first.

This also goes for understanding how logical fallacies work. Too often, a debate can turn into trading arguments about whose straw man fell down the slippery slope onto Occam’s razor the most. But identifying a logical fallacy isn’t winning a debate. Instead, these are meant to be tools to help you understand what you’re learning better.

While you’re studying your subject, watch out for logical fallacies within your own thinking. Be mindful of when you’re assuming something’s true just because an authority figure said it, or when you’re confusing correlation with causation. By being aware of these common mistakes, and responding to them with more reading and studying, you’ll be in a better place to put forth a solid argument the next time it’s time for a debate.

How to debate politics without being a complete jerk

The internet is a great place for debate. I love throwing ideas out there, stirring up interest and reading other passionate opinions.

But the anonymity of the internet also has a way of turning mean people loose. And that stifles, sometimes kills, the opportunity for healthy, inspiring conversation. A lot of good people have stopped writing online because they don’t want to wade through the nastiness any more. I don’t blame them.

The worst place for this is usually in the comment section of blogs. Unfortunately, Christian sites – even church leadership sites – are no exception to this. Including the good folks at CT, who host this blog, which is why they have shut down their comment section altogether.

Despite this, I hold out hope. I’ve learned that it is possible to disagree with someone online and not be a jerk about it.

So if you, like me, want to engage in lively discussion, even disagreements online, while keeping the tone civil, try these ten steps as a guide.

1. Read the entire post

You can skim, read or not read anything you want, of course. It’s up to you.

But, if you plan to comment on it, don’t just skim the title and subheadings, read the whole article first!

It’s astonishing how many people comment on a post when they obviously haven’t read it first.

Besides, when you read an entire article before commenting on it or passing it along, you may discover that you agree with more than you thought you would.

2. Disagree with what the author actually wrote

Everyone has the right for their words to stand on their own. But I’ve often seen a commenter get mad at a blogger for something they didn’t even write!

Most bloggers don’t have a problem with disagreements as long as the commenter has the respect and integrity to address the issue the blogger actually wrote about, not something that’s just rattling around in your own head.

3. Address the issue without attacking the person

When you attack the person by calling them names, impugning their character and so on, it opens the door for all kinds of bad results.

First, your words can hurt a person deeply, sometimes permanently.

Second, you’ll bring any possibility for further civil conversation to a close. The insulted person will either sling mud back at you or leave the debate – and maybe the forum and/or relationship – for good. Others who haven’t been insulted will leave too, either from fear of being attacked themselves or because they don’t want to read the nastiness.

Third, you’ll look like a jerk and, by extension, hurt your own argument. Insults are more likely to push undecided people away from your side, not towards it. No one wins.

4. Don’t assume motives

Let the person who wrote the piece tell you what their motives are. Only they and God know, anyway. (Sometimes only God really knows.)

5. If you can’t say something nice…

Before I decide to comment on a blog post or status I disagree with, I read it thoroughly to find something I agree on.

No, I don’t offer false praise. People can see through that. But there’s always something to agree with that allows me to start my comments by writing, “I love what you said about…” or “I appreciate what you’re trying to get across here…”

If there’s nothing to agree on, we have to ask “why bother to comment at all?” If the blogger has literally gotten nothing right, they and their readers are probably not persuadable, so why waste precious time and energy on them? Click or swipe to the next post.

The restrained sparring between Pence and Harris was a reminder of what politics was once like — and could be again.

How to debate politics without being a complete jerk

This was the kind of debate that will be seen as a victory for Mike Pence by Republicans and a victory for Kamala Harris by Democrats. | AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool

10/08/2020 02:01 AM EDT

At one point during Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate, Mike Pence answered a question about abortion laws in Indiana by discussing Qasem Soleimani. Kamala Harris responded to a question about whether she and Joe Biden would expand the Supreme Court by invoking Abe Lincoln.

Let’s say this at the outset: This was a boring, unfocused debate between two well-prepared and polished candidates who had little interest in answering the questions posed to them — and were under virtually no pressure from the moderator to do so.

In other words, it was sort of how debates used to be: professional politicians who are mostly civil to each other making their points, occasionally skirting the rules, and frequently spinning the facts. There was a lot to critique, but the participants were bound by some shared sense of propriety.

That was before Trump came along and turned the first debate into a spectacle, as he did on Sept. 29 by interrupting Joe Biden for 90 minutes. So maybe the way to see the Harris-Pence snooze-fest is as a peek into the future of American politics once this Trump-dominated era is over.

POLITICO Dispatch: October 8

Plexiglass barriers. 12 feet between the candidates. Fewer interruptions. Wednesday’s vice presidential debate looked and sounded pretty different from what went down at the presidential debate last week, but the exchanges were still tense.

Harris and Pence are both younger, more well-spoken, and closer to the beating hearts of their respective parties. Considering the challenges anyone would have defending the Trump record on the pandemic, Pence’s ability to leave the stage after 90 minutes without being gutted by Harris was a bar cleared.

The fly that nested in Pence’s hair for more than two minutes was more embarrassing to him — and memorable to viewers — than any of Harris’s jabs. That also has to be seen as a kind of accomplishment.

The two plexiglass screens that separated the candidates were visual reminders of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus. There has never been a debate where one candidate requested that special safety equipment be installed because there was a not-unreasonable concern that their opponent might infect them with the deadly disease they were charged with getting under control. Like the fly, the physical barriers were more memorable and more embarrassing to Pence than anything Harris said.

Harris was well-prepared but restrained. She did not, as previous vice-presidential candidates have — including Joe Biden in 2008 and 2012 — play the role of vicious aggressor. In previous presidential campaigns that role has sometimes diminished the running mate.

Whether by design or happenstance, Harris seemed more interested in coming across as civil and presidential rather than as an attack dog. Considering the dynamics of the campaign that may have been a politically astute decision. She and Biden are well ahead in the polls and defining Harris as someone ready to be president, rather than as a political assassin, may be a more important use of her limited time in the spotlight.

Key moments from Harris and Pence’s prime-time showdown

But the vice presidential debate did nothing to alter the course of the race. Debates are generally won and lost not on stage in real time but in their aftermath, when the media, abetted and prodded by campaigns, define the key moments. But there wasn’t a “You’re no Jack Kennedy” soundbite that will be remembered decades from now.

Instead, there was a lot of very familiar prosecution of the Trump record on the economy, health care, and the pandemic from Harris. And there were a lot of scattered attacks on Harris and Biden as too left wing from Pence.

This was the kind of debate that will be seen as a victory for Pence by Republicans and a victory for Harris by Democrats. For the tiny sliver of undecided or wavering voters there was little new information to help them make up their minds.

Of course, Kamala Harris and Mike Pence never had a chance to break through. Few politicians do in the age of Trump.

The last week has been about one big thing: Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic. Trump has ensured that instead of a quiet isolation while he recovers, he will remain front and center. A vice presidential debate can’t top reports of the infected president roaming the halls of the West Wing shedding virus as he exhales while aides scramble around him in goggles and gowns and gloves.

Pence’s robotic drone and Harris’s practiced jabs won’t get the media to avert its eyes as Trump tweets conspiracy theories in all caps and praises criminal acts against protesters while we all speculate as to whether the president is always this erratic or whether his behavior is the result of the dexamethasone coursing through his veins.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

How to debate politics without being a complete jerk

Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

The first presidential debate is happening tonight and you can watch it here. However, once the candidates are done debating, you might find yourself in a debate of your own. If you want this discussion to be more productive than your last argument on Facebook, here are some strategies to help make sure you don’t walk away stressed out, having wasted your time and energy.

You don’t have to debate. It’s optional. Unless you’re one of the presidential candidates, you don’t have to do this.

Are you still with us? Still got a good reason to have this debate even though you’re not obligated to? Cool. Keep reading.

When politicians debate on stage, they’re not trying to convince each other of their arguments. They’re trying to convince you, the viewer. Their arguments are structured around accomplishing that goal. If you’re going to debate someone else, it’s helpful for you to make similar decisions about what you want to accomplish.

If you’re arguing in, say, a Facebook comment thread, then you might not have a very good chance at changing the mind of the person you’re debating. But the other people who may be reading are a different matter. Staying conscious of those people can help you keep your cool even when your opponent just. won’t. listen.

This can also help you avoid getting sucked into lengthy unproductive diatribes. If you just want to make sure everyone knows that something someone said is wrong, you can hop in, drop some facts, and bounce before things get ugly. It’s not your job to convince everyone! But you can undermine your own credibility if you get into an all-out fight trying to convince someone who can’t be convinced. Have a plan before you get involved about what you want to accomplish and who you want to affect before you start reaching for the Caps Lock key.

You might have heard the phrase “straw man” to describe a bad-faith debate technique where your opponent makes up a version of your argument that you don’t actually believe, and debates that instead. It’s not great practice and you should probably avoid that. But even better than not straw-manning someone’s argument is to intentionally steel man it instead.

“Steel man,” as the name implies, is when you try to find the strongest version of your opponent’s argument to debate against. It’s great if you can get your opponent to agree on a proposition first—for example, “Is your position that raising taxes is always bad?”—but you can also accomplish this by doing your research ahead of time.

As a general (though by no means absolute) rule, if you’re getting your argument from someone who is debunking a claim, it might not be the best form of the argument. For example, “These morons think global warming was made up by China!” is probably not the best version of the argument. However, if you can find the specific claims that your opponent actually believes, then you can be better equipped to respond to them.

Have you ever found yourself in an argument where you start out debating one thing and 20 minutes later you’re on something else entirely? You started by talking about the deficit, but somehow you’ve landed on immigration, and every time you make a point, your opponent changes the subject, or focuses on some tiny portion of your response that was inelegantly phrased, rather than recognizing your argument as a whole. By the end, you’ve laid out all the facts you have and still gotten nowhere.

When this happens, it’s often because your opponent is playing a very different game than you are. They’re posturing. YouTube channel Innuendo Studios describes this strategy as never playing defense, and it tends to turn up when pretending like you’re winning is a more viable way to win over the audience than proving you’re right. The goal of posturing is to force your opponent to keep answering short, incorrect statements with long, detailed answers because it’s easier for an audience to understand the short accusation than the long detailed explanation.

If you’re in a formal debate situation—which most of us rarely are—one of the best ways to deal with this kind of posturing debate style is to stay focused and don’t let yourself get lost in the weeds. If the subject is taxes, stay focused on taxes. And if you find a weak point in their argument, don’t let go just because they’d rather talk about something else.

However, if you’re not in a public debate, one of the best ways to defeat this strategy is not to play. It doesn’t make you less intellectually honest to ignore bad faith accusations from randos on Twitter.

If you’re not arguing in public—a mercifully more tolerable experience—and instead talking to someone one-on-one, then your goal in a debate might be to change the mind of the person you’re talking to. And at least here, you’ve got a decent chance at it, but not if you blow it by being hostile right out of the gate.

Instead, try asking more questions. It sounds like a simple change, but your argument can be a lot more persuasive when you gently lead the other person there, rather than pummel them over the head with it. For example, saying “Do you think healthcare should be tied to employment?” can be more persuasive than trying to go through every point of the other guy’s healthcare plan point by point and “proving” why they’re bad.

This strategy tends to work because when you ask questions, not only do you come across as less hostile, but it positions the points of the debate as something to think about. Someone can ignore the factual arguments you lay out, waiting for their turn to get a word in, but if you ask a question, they have to come up with an answer. The more they have to think about answering the question, the more likely they might be to come around to your way of thinking.

If you’re going to debate like you’ve got the facts on your side, you should probably get those facts first. A common trap that online arguments fall into, though, is trying to find facts in real time. This can lead to disaster if you find out halfway through an argument that you don’t have all the information. It sounds obvious but if you want to debate a topic, take some time to learn about it first.

This also goes for understanding how logical fallacies work. Too often, a debate can turn into trading arguments about whose straw man fell down the slippery slope onto Occam’s razor the most. But identifying a logical fallacy isn’t winning a debate. Instead, these are meant to be tools to help you understand what you’re learning better.

While you’re studying your subject, watch out for logical fallacies within your own thinking. Be mindful of when you’re assuming something’s true just because an authority figure said it, or when you’re confusing correlation with causation. By being aware of these common mistakes, and responding to them with more reading and studying, you’ll be in a better place to put forth a solid argument the next time it’s time for a debate.

Avoid Hurt Feelings at Holiday Gatherings and Family Functions

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How to debate politics without being a complete jerk

How to debate politics without being a complete jerk

Is it possible to talk politics without the conversation ending in bruised egos and hurt feelings? Is politics, like religion, a subject too taboo for the holiday gathering or family function? And if someone does unexpectedly start to talk politics at your dinner table, what should you do?

Republicans. Democrats. Libertarians. Greens. Neocons. Ultraliberals. Americans are a diverse bunch, and they’re growing increasingly polarized and seemingly more unable by the minute to talk politics in a civilized manner. Usually, a fight breaks out when the topic turns to the upcoming election.

Here are five ideas for how to talk politics and still stay friends with your partisan pals.

Cite Facts, Not Opinions

If you absolutely must talk politics, one way to avoid messy confrontations is to steer clear of opinions and instead cite facts. Don’t say, for example, that you think all Republicans are insensitive or all Democrats are elitists. Steer clear of painting everyone with such a broad brush.

If you find yourself engaged in political debate while trying to enjoy the Thanksgiving turkey, use facts to gently back up your position. This will require some preparation and study the night before a get-together, but a policy discussion that centers on facts and not opinion tends to be one that is more thoughtful and less likely to end in a brawl.

Disagree Respectfully

Don’t shake your head in disgust. Don’t interrupt. Don’t sigh like Al Gore did during his debate with George W. Bush in 2000. Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t be a jerk, in other words. There are at least two sides to every debate, two visions for the future, and yours isn’t necessarily the right one.

Let your sparring partner have his say, then explain in an even tone why you disagree. Do not use the phrase, “You are wrong.” This makes the disagreement personal, and it shouldn’t be. Stick to the facts, be respectful, and your holiday gathering should be a smash. In a good way, of course.

The bottom line: Agree to disagree.

See the Other Side

Let’s face it: If you were right all the time, you’d be president and not that other guy in the White House. There’s a chance you’re wrong about some things. It’s always good to see an argument through your sparring partner’s eyes.

Occasionally, should you feel the need to extinguish what appears to be an escalation of the political rhetoric, stop and say to your friend, “You know, that’s a good point. I never looked at it that way.”

Don’t Take It Personally

So you and your pals or in-laws once disagreed over how President Barack Obama had handled the economy, or whether Mitt Romney really understood the middle class. Who cares? That shouldn’t have an impact on your friendship.

The bottom line: This is isn’t about you. Get over your bruised ego or hurt feelings. Move on. Embrace your differences. They’re what make America great.

Keep Quiet

If you really don’t have anything nice to say, as the old maxim goes, don’t say anything at all. This is especially true when talking politics. If a civil discussion of the issues is impossible with your friends and family, it’s best to keep quiet.

Even if they raise force the issue, stay silent. Shrug your shoulders. Duck into the bathroom. Pretend to be distracted by the song playing in the background. Whatever it takes, keep your thoughts to yourself. For silence is the best policy of all in the long run.

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How to debate politics without being a complete jerk

How to debate politics without being a complete jerk

How to debate politics without being a complete jerk

From Daniel J. Flynn’s Spectator A.M. Newsletter

Is this really the best this wonderful country can do for a president? I wouldn’t have either one of them to dinner in my home. Trump could have won if he had just taken the high road and shut up (a request to a sitting president by a former VP, who apparently also has no class). They both needed to be backhanded for their language and made to sit in the corner with no supper.

Click here to subscribe to Dan Flynn’s Spectator A.M. newsletter!

Mr. Trump, state your point succinctly and then stand there politely and wait for the other guy to hang himself. You looked foolish. Don’t expect Queen Elizabeth to ask you to dinner. You have done very well for your country, but you need to grow up and have some class that isn’t low.

I’m so embarrassed for Mr. Trump’s family.

I disagree with you totally, Dan. What was our president to do? Sit there and take it? He was debating two people, and it was a set up. Wallace was so biased it was pitiful. Don’t make it sound like Biden was a winner. What about all the rallies that President Trump holds with thousands of people? Where are Biden’s followers? The media! Let’s pray that the fraud-makers don’t steal this election from the best president the country has ever had. He’s not a politician. He’s not polished. If he is attacked — calling the president a clown, a racist, a liar — he responds. Cutting him off when he is trying to correct lies that Biden spewed was shameful. Where was the evenness in this “debate”? Where on the national news does one go to see the crowds and the decent people that show up for the president? Biden is a joke, and anyone who gives him credence is a joke also.

You nailed it. The debate was a cringe-worthy disaster. If the goal was for the president to win swing voters, it failed, and probably cost Trump the election — much to my dismay.

Biden clearly won, if only because he showed self-control. How his handlers got him to remember everything, even if much of it was lies or distortions, was impressive. They would be advised to skip the next two debates. He hit a home run this time. Subsequent debates could be trouble for him.

Please continue with your honest analysis of this and other events/topics.

Spot on. I stopped watching — quite the train wreck.

Tim Macoritto
Sarnia, Ontario

I think you summed up the fiasco quite well. It was very much two adolescent senior citizens arguing in a bar, while Aunt Karen standing nearby keeps interrupting to try to get them to behave. Any non-partisan bystander listening-in would have recognized which antagonist was the bully and which was just a jerk. However, their sympathies would probably have rested with the jerk.

Donald Trump gets very few opportunities to present himself to the American people without the negative media filters. He squandered that opportunity by presenting himself as the boor the press constantly makes him out to be. I got the feeling he’s tired of being president and doesn’t really want the job anymore.

Well, that was blistering. A well-written and well-argued newsletter, but to declare Biden the winner I find a bit much.

Donald Trump not waiting his turn did not bother me in the least. Chris Wallace going all the way back to Charlottesville with his questions did. Joe Biden lying stupidly and trying to pretend he is something he is not — a kind, caring uniter — was farcical. That Trump took control of that room in his bombastic style I found rather refreshing. I keep wondering why people think maybe this time Trump is going to be something he is not. His truth is in his being — likability, yes, but also optics. Trump won the night on optics.

You are spot-on with your assessment. Trump’s undisciplined behavior surely cost him consideration from some of the undecideds — particularly suburbanites. How can he claim credibility in promoting law and order when he clearly couldn’t follow agreed upon debate rules? He behaved as if he were at a NYC back-alley gang fight.

He missed opportunities with African Americans and other minority communities. He was so focused on trying to trip up Biden that he didn’t list some of his major accomplishments in that area. Also missed was a prime opportunity with his response to the systemic racism question. He could have replied, “Yes, unfortunately there have been elements of what could be called systemic racism in our history — take a look at the roots of the Democratic party. It was founded on racism, etc.” He could have then ended with the zinger, “And Joe, you and other Democratic party elites eulogized the former Grand Wizard of the KKK!”

Hopefully, enough of us will plug our nose and vote on policy rather than personality.

Avoid Hurt Feelings at Holiday Gatherings and Family Functions

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How to debate politics without being a complete jerk

How to debate politics without being a complete jerk

Is it possible to talk politics without the conversation ending in bruised egos and hurt feelings? Is politics, like religion, a subject too taboo for the holiday gathering or family function? And if someone does unexpectedly start to talk politics at your dinner table, what should you do?

Republicans. Democrats. Libertarians. Greens. Neocons. Ultraliberals. Americans are a diverse bunch, and they’re growing increasingly polarized and seemingly more unable by the minute to talk politics in a civilized manner. Usually, a fight breaks out when the topic turns to the upcoming election.

Here are five ideas for how to talk politics and still stay friends with your partisan pals.

Cite Facts, Not Opinions

If you absolutely must talk politics, one way to avoid messy confrontations is to steer clear of opinions and instead cite facts. Don’t say, for example, that you think all Republicans are insensitive or all Democrats are elitists. Steer clear of painting everyone with such a broad brush.

If you find yourself engaged in political debate while trying to enjoy the Thanksgiving turkey, use facts to gently back up your position. This will require some preparation and study the night before a get-together, but a policy discussion that centers on facts and not opinion tends to be one that is more thoughtful and less likely to end in a brawl.

Disagree Respectfully

Don’t shake your head in disgust. Don’t interrupt. Don’t sigh like Al Gore did during his debate with George W. Bush in 2000. Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t be a jerk, in other words. There are at least two sides to every debate, two visions for the future, and yours isn’t necessarily the right one.

Let your sparring partner have his say, then explain in an even tone why you disagree. Do not use the phrase, “You are wrong.” This makes the disagreement personal, and it shouldn’t be. Stick to the facts, be respectful, and your holiday gathering should be a smash. In a good way, of course.

The bottom line: Agree to disagree.

See the Other Side

Let’s face it: If you were right all the time, you’d be president and not that other guy in the White House. There’s a chance you’re wrong about some things. It’s always good to see an argument through your sparring partner’s eyes.

Occasionally, should you feel the need to extinguish what appears to be an escalation of the political rhetoric, stop and say to your friend, “You know, that’s a good point. I never looked at it that way.”

Don’t Take It Personally

So you and your pals or in-laws once disagreed over how President Barack Obama had handled the economy, or whether Mitt Romney really understood the middle class. Who cares? That shouldn’t have an impact on your friendship.

The bottom line: This is isn’t about you. Get over your bruised ego or hurt feelings. Move on. Embrace your differences. They’re what make America great.

Keep Quiet

If you really don’t have anything nice to say, as the old maxim goes, don’t say anything at all. This is especially true when talking politics. If a civil discussion of the issues is impossible with your friends and family, it’s best to keep quiet.

Even if they raise force the issue, stay silent. Shrug your shoulders. Duck into the bathroom. Pretend to be distracted by the song playing in the background. Whatever it takes, keep your thoughts to yourself. For silence is the best policy of all in the long run.

How to debate politics without being a complete jerk

Being in an argument or receiving criticism from another person truly sucks. But instead of going straight into attack mode, there are ways to help you stop being defensive while learning how to communicate well with others. I’ll be honest: About four years ago, I had no idea how to communicate without being defensive. Ever since I was younger, I always felt like I had to prove myself to everyone because I felt I was different. When I would be the butt of all jokes, instead of standing up for myself, I would point the finger at others or simply cry because I was completely frustrated.

After studying interpersonal and organizational communication in college, I began to understand what being defensive meant and how to tackle conflict in a healthy way. According to Psychology Today, Anna Freud, Sigmund Freud’s daughter, helped illustrate that there are nine common defense mechanisms that everyone goes through in her book, The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably gone through most of these categories throughout your lifetime.

When it comes to using defense mechanisms, it tends to coincide with protecting ones self. But it’s also in conjunction with how well you can communicate; once I learned how to productively talk about issues and disagreements with others (and I’m still learning to this day), I had the ability to truly express myself and what I was feeling. I learned that listening was just as important as speaking and jumping to conclusions was not going to solve anything. After a bit of time, the walls of defense started to go down, and I realized how quickly an argument can be solved once you allow yourself to be vulnerable and be OK with the thought of being wrong. Below are a few ways to communicate well without being defensive. This can take some time to adjust to, but once you learn how to stop putting your guard up, you can learn how to feel comfortable having with others without completely breaking down.

1. Be Secure In Who You Are

You’re less likely to get defensive or hurt over something when you know for sure that it’s not true. Being secure in yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself because you won’t need to be validated by anyone else besides yourself. According to Psychology Today, Austrian psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut said that finding a healthy medium of narcissism is actually good for you. Being a self-confident person, or healthy adult narcissism as Kohut called it, allows you to be able to handle those harsh criticisms, broken promises, or miscommunications with others. This can resolve a lot of issues when someone criticizes you, because of instead of jumping to conclusions, you can talk to them calmly without feeling like you have to defend yourself every minute.

2. Stop Retaliating & Genuinely Listen

Being in an argument with someone doesn’t mean that you should be thinking about your next attack move while they are talking. You should try to genuinely listen to all of their points and see where they are coming from. When people get defensive, sometimes they automatically think that the other person is wrong. While that may be the case, there’s a way to explain your part without completely ignoring what they have to say. According to The Huffington Post, the next time you’re in an argument, take a moment to actually listen without strategizing your next thought process so you can defend yourself, because the less you try to protect your identity, the more better you may feel.

3. Use “I” Statements

Have a clear indication as to why you feel defensive. Once you can understand why you feel the way you do, the person you’re arguing with may be able to comprehend your emotions better. According to Psych Central, using I statements can allow you to keep the focus on your feelings and can prevent unfair accusations onto others. Instead of projecting your undesired feelings or thoughts onto another person, try to solidify what you need and how you want your emotions to come across.

4. Think Long-Term Instead Of Short-Term

When you’re getting defensive, start to contemplate on the end goal. Being impulsive with your emotions means you’re only thinking about how you feel at the moment. Strategize your thinking so you can accomplish long-term goals instead of trying to win the battle. According to Psychology Today, concentration camp survivor Victor Frankl had said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Before you make any quick judgments, take a deep breathe and try to pay close attention to the result of your actions. Will they benefit you in the long run? Can you come up with a better response? Being defensive doesn’t mean you have to be negative, there’s a way to have a positive outlook while still protecting your identity.

5. Learn How To Receive Criticism

During those moments when you receive harsh criticism, there’s a way to acknowledge it without being defensive. According to Forbes, remember the benefits of getting feedback even when you don’t want it. Take the time to listen to what they’re expressing to you, ask them why they are feeling this way, and strategize how you can use this to benefit you as a person or an employee. Even if you don’t believe what they say is true, you can still be the bigger person, thank them, and walk away. You don’t need to worry about what others think about you because you already know how you feel about yourself. While it can be a negative situation for a few moments, you can always turn it around into a positive by letting the negative feeling go.

6. It’s OK To Be Wrong

No one can be right 100 percent all the time, it’s just not possible. And even though you would love to be right, there are those moments when you may need to realize that the person just might be correct about what they are saying. According to Forbes, make sure you give yourself permission to be wrong, and also give that permission to others, too. By doing this, you’re accepting the fact that it’s OK to not get everything right on the first try, but also not to accept failure as the only defeat.

While defending yourself is never a bad thing, being defensive all the time can get exhausting. Instead of trying to save face when a tough situation arise, take a moment to find your space, acknowledge what they are saying, and try to benefit from it. There’s a reason why this person is feeling a certain way; the last thing you want to do is ignore what they are saying and push their feelings aside like it doesn’t matter. Be considerate, but straightforward, and in the end, hopefully you will feel like a winner instead of trying to defend yourself over and over again.

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