Election of the Century: Political Etiquette

There is no escaping it. From TV ads and sticker campaigns to snarky social media posts, the 2016 presidential campaign knows no boundaries. On a college campus, especially one as politically inclined as Emory, conversations about hot issues and the candidates that front them can be seemingly futile. Whether you are team Donald, Hilary, third party, or #idontcare — talking about politics can be like walking on eggshells.

If talking about politics makes you feel uncomfortable…

Whether it is because you are uninformed or simply just do not like politics, there is no harm in refraining to speak on politics. Whether you do so by admitting your indifference or simply stating that you don’t feel comfortable talking about such things, there is no shame in opting out of political conversations.

If you would like to get informed, which I wholeheartedly recommend, here are a couple handy quizzes to see where on the conservative/liberal spectrum you lie and which candidate holds those values (one, two). If quizzes are not for you, here’s a handy chart detailing the candidates and their views.

If someone has a strong opposing viewpoint…

It is important to realize that the chances of you suddenly changing someone else’s mind is likely very slim. In this scenario, it is important to watch your temperament and keep factual. I understand that it can be hard to keep your voice at a reasonable level and argue your values calmly. The fact is that childish bickering will in no way prove any point. My logic is that both parties fully believe that they are right, so any amount of aggression is counter-intuitive. By no means am I asking you to compromise on your values, I am only recommending that you express your values maturely.

Regardless of another person’s viewpoint…

Listening is also a vital part of political chit-chat. You may find that your preconceived notions of a value or political party are wrong. It is important to truly listen to what others are saying, even if you necessarily do not agree with them. You may find that you learn something new that changes your views on a policy, politician, or the government as a whole. It is not just about being tolerant, it is about being open to perspectives unlike your own.

In summary…

In a controversial and tense election like the 2016 presidential race, I feel like manners can easily be forgotten.  Following these niceties will not only make you a greater political conversationalist but a better communicator across the board!