March 20, 2023

A lot of us are enduring stress from all kinds of issues that we can think of. We may be worried about this pandemic and anxiously waiting for the day that this will be over, or we may be also annoyed by the current problems that the world is facing. Of course, politics is never out of the question and this is certainly something that keeps bugging me. Even if we live in a democratic country, expresing our view on political issues can be toxic and can bring out the worst in all of us. Having said that, it may be proper to think about ways on how we deal with this while navigating this so-called life.
When I was in college, our professor in Political Science discussed the three types of people who deal with politics. She classified them similar to the types of people in an arena.
First are the political gladiators. They are the ones who viciously attack their opponents just to prove their point. They are commonly visible in the media, like the activists and politicians, among others.
The second type are the political spectators who hate to express their views in the open but love to talk about it when they have to. Ironically, there are some journalists who belong to this type. They express their views but they don’t sound confrontational.
The third type are the political apathetic, who just do not show interest and walk away from political discussions. I used to think then that apathetic people do not care about these issues but I have gone a long way to realize that they are just probably tackling more important matters than wasting their time giving a fuss about politics.
I have always wondered where I belong among these three and I admit I am indecisive about it most of the time. There are times that I am sure I am a spectator, but there are also times that I want to be apathetic. I really hate engaging in arguments and heated discussions, but I tend to be vocal on certain issues but sometimes, I wonder if I got the message across. I always end up wondering if people understood my point or they probably just pretend that they do but in reality, they think that I am just a hopeless person trying hard to convince others to agree with me. What makes it worse is those who disagree with my take belittle my opinion and imply that it does not count.
But what is more frustrating is that when I try to be neutral about a political issue, people still believe that I am taking a side because my thoughts do not jibe with theirs. I try as hard to convey my objective views but they just take it as the opposite. Whenever this happens, I just retreat and suppress my emotions hoping that someday they will be in the same position I am in so they would know how it feels to be in that stance. This is one of the instances when I am convinced that I would rather be apathetic and look into other more important things to do.
It may be easy to say let us just keep quiet and move on because we don’t have a control over politics. But no matter how hard we try to avoid it, it is our nature to express our views on issues. Maybe because we care too much about what’s happening around us that we subconsciously ride along with the razzmatazz just so we can prove to others that our opinions matter too, and that we have the right to express them. But the real question is not how we convey our thoughts, but how do we handle the feedback and the repercussions of expressing our views.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions when it comes to politics. Sometimes views or judgements are not necessarily based on facts or bodies of knowledge. This is where the drama comes into play and where it gets interesting. Sadly, the danger comes in when these opinions overshadow the facts, which means that it gets further away from the truth. Once it gets too far, it makes our biases resonate, which would ultimately drive us crazy.
Politics is everybody’s game. Whether you are a gladiator, spectator, or apathetic, you get to a point where you are challenged because you couldn’t figure out where you should stand on a certain issue. But my advice is: Try to be empathetic. Put yourself into the situation of all parties involved and form you views from there. Then if you have decided to agree, disagree, or abstain from it, then do not apologize for conveying your honest take on it. But know that whatever the response may be, you should take it as part of the discussion and not the conclusion. You may choose to go on and argue about it until you prove your point, or you may just shrug it off and suppress whatever you feel about it and work on other meaningful matters. Be aware that issues could be brought up again and be prepared mentally and emotionally for that.
I also believe that when we choose to be in the middle of a political spectacle, it is better for us to arbitrate, not to instigate. It is better to point our moral compass to the facts and not to our inherent biases. When we become mature about such matters, we may become flexible about our views because we know that these can change over time as facts do change over time. For sure this is not easy to do, because we may be perceived to be inconsistent or incoherent. But as long as we stay on the course and conscientious, we are assured that people will respect our views whatever they may be.
Recently, I watched a show where Neil de Grasse Tyson: “You don’t have to like my science, but that doesn’t make it wrong because you didn’t like it.”
In the same way, you don’t have to agree with my opinion, but that does not make it any less true. It sounds like a clap back, but it will help keep your sanity intact while riding in this circus called politics. — Kensha Andrea B. Gardingan