Political Discourse

My thoughts following the 2016 election

unsplash-logoLouis Velazquez

“What’s on your mind?” asks Facebook.


(tl;dr - political discussion; I pledge to be more informed and engaged)

I’m disappointed. Not just because a particular candidate won or lost, but in the way that things have gone down throughout this whole process. We need to work together to bring back honest, factual, civil, and truthful political discourse. And I’m just as much a part of the problem as anyone else.

I eschew talking about politics because it is uncomfortable; because it is inflammatory; because it can strain relationships; and frankly because it is difficult to do effectively without a large amount of prior research. While, in a perfect world, it shouldn’t be like that, it also isn’t a very good excuse for not engaging in it either.

My goal is to become a better and more informed citizen so I can participate in effective political discourse in the future, and I encourage you to do the same. To do that, we’ll have to reach outside our filter bubbles (or echo chambers, as some people call them). We’ll have to:

  • Listen to and talk with people we disagree with.
  • Research their facts and opinions, and share our own with them.
  • Stop relying on social media (or any media, for that matter) to present us with an unfiltered view of the world.
  • Seek out primary sources - watch some C-SPAN, read international news, find nonpartisan research data, and understand how it all fits together without someone else telling us the answer.

Most importantly, we’ll have to be willing to be wrong about things we currently believe, and be open to changing our minds. If we enter into political discourse with the firm belief that our minds cannot be swayed, then we are doing the world a disservice by being uninformed voters, blindly choosing those who would lead us without truly understanding what that means.

In times like these, I usually turn to my two heroes for advice:

“Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.”

-Abraham Lincoln

“It’s very dramatic when two people come together to work something out. It’s easy to take a gun and annihilate your opposition, but what is really exciting to me is to see people with differing views come together and finally respect each other.”

-Mr. (Fred) Rogers

To this I would add one of my favorite quotes (the source of which I will not directly cite out of respect, and the fact that I may be misquoting it or misusing it a bit):

“Ignorance can be cured; but we all must live with stupidity.”


I pledge to cure my ignorance, educate myself, and engage in healthy political discourse. I hope you will do the same.

take the pledge!