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Al’s Rules for Political Discussion
Personally, I have been appalled by the level of intellectual honesty in today’s political discussion. Cable news and social media have a big influence in driving discussions that everyday people engage in. I have asked myself what value I get from discussions that I have been a part of. Answer is not much. So, I have thought about this and would like to share a set of rules I am following whenever I become involved in such discussions. Here are my rules.
- Remember, cable news is mostly entertainment, with a little information thrown in. For example, I will watch Fox News to find out which catheter is the right one for me.
- Social media is just that — a medium where people can engage in social discourse. It is not a source of facts despite what the fact checkers say.
- Opinion is different from facts. Opinion can be a personal interpretation of facts or it can lack a basis in factual content. If the latter, please don’t waste my time.
- Whether I choose to engage in discussion with a person will depend on the following:
- Have we shared at least one meal together?
- Have I invited you to share a bottle of wine?
The reason for this rule is that if I don’t know you, most likely, I don’t care what you think. I am sure you feel the same way about me.
- Just as “my truth” is not “the truth,” neither is yours.
- When engaging in a political discussion, it is important to have agreement with the other party as to the relevant facts. Political debate should be about interpretation of facts, not having one’s own unique set of facts.
- It’s OK to have a different interpretation of the facts. That is what makes the discussion worthwhile. If you are coming from a different perspective and make a coherent point, I am overjoyed, as I just learned something.
- You could be the clown to the left of me or the joker to the right, but I am not stuck in the middle with you.
Hope this helps. These are my rules. You are welcome to make use of them.Published in