• Autumn Brewster & Patricia Garcia

Politics Leads to Arguments: Why So Many of Us Refuse to Speak up

As student reporters Autumn Brewster and Patricia Garcia explain, with art by Diether Llaneza, many students say they purposefully become politically apathetic to avoid starting arguments with others.

“Politics Coming to a Head” by Diether Llaneza.

Avoiding The Topic

When it comes to talking about politics, some of us try to avoid the topic completely. Whether it’s because you’re scared it will start an unwanted argument or because it’s just not something you’re very knowledgeable about, it’s okay. You’re not alone.

As we’re approaching the upcoming 2020 election finale, we’ve heard a lot of people’s opinions regarding the candidates and how they believe situations should be handled. These comments can lead to some discomfort for those who don’t want to engage in these conversations. No disrespect to those who don’t highly engage in political conversation. If you’re not comfortable with it, that’s okay.

But, what if the reason some of us aren’t talking, is because we don’t understand? Let’s jump back to when we were in elementary school, talking about the branches of government, first learning how politics worked. It was fun to learn something new and some of us were actually pretty intrigued with politics.

But, as we grew older, we stepped away from our understandings and things became more difficult for us to comprehend. These rights versus those rights, this law needs to be passed because it connects to that law, and this candidate says this but will do that. Do I need to tie all this information together to understand what’s going on?

“Out of Sight” by Diether Llaneza

An Unsettling Argument

How about for those who are in fear of an argument they won’t be able to get out of…now that I truly understand. You want to share your opinion, you’ve got quite a lot. But, stating it is going to cause unease in your conversation. This makes giving yourself a voice very difficult. Let me speak for you, it’s okay to share your thoughts even if others don’t agree.

Debate is meant to cause clashing beliefs and to get the other side to consider your reasoning as well. Conversations need debate, even if they may last long at times. As we come nearer this election, there are many of us not willing to speak up about politics. Whatever your reason may be, don’t feel alone, you’re one of many.

Every four years when the presidential election occurs, the worst is brought out of us. We as people feel so close to each other but so divided. The election tests our morals, our friendships and relationships, and our mental health.

Tips in above video can be found on talking politics with friends and family.

Unfriending People

There has been a recent trend of ‘unfriending’ people on social media if they do not share similar views or have disagreements or fights about nationwide ‘debacles.’ Some people will go as far to remove people just because they vote Republican.

It has become hard to talk about politics because of the national tension and since most of it is done through a screen, it escalates to something that is out of anyone’s control.

Two UNR students answered some questions on an Instagram Question and Answer form regarding ‘speaking about politics’. The questions were:

Why do/ or don’t you talk about politics?

Do you unfriend people who are of different political views?

Do you feel comfortable expressing your opinions?

Student 1 said:

“I do talk politics, but I don’t argue politics anymore. Arguing on social media especially, is a waste of time. Do you see how people turn into feral beasts on social media, but they’re so mild in person? It’s just not real. It’s a fake interaction. I don’t unfriend people of different parties unless they get nasty with me [or] talk down to me like I’m barely human. It’s only happened twice[.] I feel comfortable expressing my opinions. I know some people who are afraid their lives will be destroyed if they have the wrong political view. It’s undoubtedly safer to be silent.”

Student 2 said:

“I tend to only discuss politics when I think it’s important or appropriate at that current moment. I do not unfriend people even if I have opposite political opinions because it helps to add to the political conversation and it is important to look at all sides of an argument or political point. The only time I unfriend anyone is if they are overtly racist/homophobic/ or sexist and I’ve never seen that on any of my friends Instagrams.”

Whether it’s a discomfort with other beliefs or a discomfort in your own, there are many of us out there who are uncomfortable talking about politics. For others, talking about politics is a way of life, but we aren’t all them, and that’s ok.

Reporting by Autumn Brewster and Patricia Garcia with Art by Diether Llaneza

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