I struggle with when and how to speak up, especially when it comes to politics. I have a friend who practically rants about our national political situation. I agree with much of what he says, but I can only take his anger in small doses.
On my recent trip to New Zealand, many locals wanted to discuss and understand what’s going on in America. I found their interest and curiosity to be refreshing. On the other hand, my travel companions shied away from those conversations and quickly changed the subject. Are they tired of these discussions or just uncomfortable?
Good Role Models
Recently I saw a good show called “The Great American Sh*t Show: New Monologues in the Age of Trump.” Brian Copeland and Charlie Varon, who are known for their one-man shows at The Marsh theatre in San Francisco, demonstrated how to speak thoughtfully about their political beliefs. Copeland shared a story about how he needed to continue loving someone he knew well in his youth who now flabbergasts him when she shares her current beliefs.
While door-to-door campaigning before the mid-term Congressional elections, Varon searched for common ground with swing voters. In his mind, he was seething at the stupidity of people who couldn’t make a decision or take action in what he considers to be times of madness. But what he did instead was to ask others questions about why they hesitated and then patiently addressed their reasons for hesitating.
During difficult times, it feels wrong to keep quiet and do nothing. On the other hand, people I like and respect, will tune me out when I talk about current events – and this includes people who agree with me. So, I’ve toned down what I say and how often I say it. What I can do is stay informed, talk to people who like to talk about current events, and join phone banks at election time.
Some Questions for You
What do you think? Do you speak up? How?