Why I Don’t Talk About Politics

American Flag

Another Election Day has come and gone.

At around 11:15pm last night, everyone began to update their Facebook statuses and send out tweets expressing their feelings about the election results. Some were happy and some were disappointed. Some made it sound like the world has never been better, others made it sound like the sun wouldn’t come up today.

I choose to refrain from posting my political views on my social networks. Do I love America? You bet. Do I have my personal views of how politics should work? Yes. Do I vote? Of course. Do I educate myself on the candidates and issues? Every voter should. Do I have certain issues that I believe are important and that I am vocal about? Most definitely (though they are moral issues and not political ones).

Why do I choose not to talk about politics in public or social media settings? Here are a few reasons: 

  • Politics are Polarizing- Our current political climate is very polarized. That makes having a logical political discussion almost impossible. Most people are set in their ways and no amount of information or discussion is going to change their mind. Therefore, discussing politics in a public forum is a lose-lose: if you make a political statement, those that disagree with you tune out and if you do it all the time, they stop paying attention to you altogether. Obviously this isn’t ideal in any public setting especially if you are in a leadership position and/or trying to convey important information.
  • Politics are Subjective- Due to the nature of politics, views tend to be subjective. Of course there are many facts about individuals, governments, policies, etc, but there is no baseline to compare what is the right way to do politics and the wrong way to do politics. One person may think that government should operate a certain way that yields certain outcomes and another may think it should operate a different way that produces different, but still positive, outcomes. This means that on a big picture level, arguments about politics can never end in a definitive answer of “the right way to do government” meaning that they usually end in frustration rather than cooperation (plus, let’s be real: how many voters actually do research on the issues themselves before voting?).
  • Politics are Emotional- Finally, politics get some people way too excited. Because of point 1 and point 2, political discussions bring out strong emotions because they usually are topics are passionate about. When people get in a passionate discussion, most other rules go out the window, including the willingness to listen and talk logically. This causes relational tension or rifts. In fact an unofficial poll of Mashable readers shows that almost 50% of the 1800 respondants unfriended someone on Facebook due to political posts and 33% thought about it but didn’t.

So those are three reasons I don’t discuss my political views publically. If you’d like to know them, contact me and we can talk one-on-one (as long as you promise to be logical :)).

A Word to Christians

Probably the most disappointing part of last night was the way that my Christian friends responded to the results. So to any Christians reading this, here is my advice:

If you cast your vote and prayed, you did your part and God is sovereign. By complaining, degrading, or posting verses out of context, you show where your real hope lies even if you add a little “but God is still sovereign” as if you’re disappointed in His plan. Think about all the non-Christians that are watching you and that you have now alienated from the gospel.

Is it really worth alienating these people from potentially hearing the gospel from you just so that you can prove your political views are right?

That’s probably the most important reason why I don’t talk about politics.

-Lawson
Learn It. Love It. Live It.

[image credit: Mike Mozart on Flickr]

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About Lawson Hembree
Lawson is an entrepreneur, ministry leader, and outdoors enthusiast who also enjoys blogging about business, ideas, and theology. Want to continue the discussion or write a guest post? Let's Connect!

5 Responses to Why I Don’t Talk About Politics

  1. Excellent thoughts! I agree that the best course of action is often to mute political feelings in public and discuss them in private, moderate settings with people you trust and who respect you in return. That being the case, I have only discussed my views with a handful of people this election season, and overall I’m happy that I haven’t made them more widely known!

  2. James Cooke says:

    Great post! I completely agree.

  3. Alexa McGriff says:

    This is great, Lawson. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Kirk Dennison says:

    Well said Lawson!

  5. Pingback: Is Social Media Making Us Less Social? [Part 3] | Lawson Hembree's Blog

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