I’ve come to the realization that if I want to speak intelligently about the hot button topics that I feel strongly about, I need to step it up.
Coming from a highly politically opinionated family, I set high standards for myself when considering speaking up in any such discussion. Because of the many family political discussions I witnessed, I felt that every point I made must be able to be backed up to a niggling degree of accuracy. I often felt my opinion was not heard or was not taken seriously when I did try to participate, so more often than not I threw in the towel and did not weigh in at all.
Of course, no surprise, lately it seems very important to meet friends and family halfway.
They are my friends and family after all. Even when their opinions seem totally Martian to me, they are still people I love and I will not go down the road of disliking them personally for opinions.
But they don’t really understand what I think about many critical events and decisions being made today. And I wouldn’t feel so disheartened now if I had spoken up more often in the past. It is my responsibility as an adult to meet people halfway. I do have good things to add to the discussion.
There isn’t such a big barrier to speaking up. I don’t have to “win” a politically sensitive discussion. I am not on the debate team in high school. There are no points, no judge.
A discussion among friends and family is just a sharing of information.
“So step it up lady!” I tell myself. “Share already! It cannot be your job to change minds. The minds do what they will.”
But the minds might be different if I share something I think is important they have not before considered.
Share something of substance, to the point and brief. And then just let it be.
Leave the discussion when one has nothing to add and the discussion is no longer constructive. Be prepared to say, “Well, we will just have to agree to disagree.” Change the subject. That is grace.
So, how to get to that point? It will take work!
I have some ideas.
I would also love your input because I would like to stay as informed as I can with the time I have available.
Here they are so far:
- Make a list of news outlets that have (1) been around for a long time (20+ years) and (2) gotten some awards, such as Pulitzer Prizes. Make sure this list includes as many biases as possible: liberal, conservative, financial, and technology.
- Make a list of primary sources of reputable data, such as government sites and professional data collection sites.
- Make a running list of active reporters. Note how much detail they include and the type of information they include – interviews? citations and reports? Eventually suss out the better reporters from this.
- Make a list of fake news outlets (willful harmful spreading of untrue news) and tabloid outlets (mostly untrue with a little bit of true)
- Make a list of amateur news sites – blogs by non-journalists, or news sites that ask questions from the regular public for answers.
- Read the Constitution every few months. Eat your spinach, kids.
Once I know the most reputable sources, I will pay the most attention to them and know how much weight to give the rest. Should save time, clutter, confusion.
I will share my lists and update them through the blog.