My Objection to Closing the Door on Healthy Debate

I have been troubled lately by friends and acquaintances who refuse to discuss politics with me - perhaps because I am a "crazy" third party voter, or perhaps because I come to every discussion perfectly equipped with sources and facts - and they yet share things on social media that I find borderline offensive in some ways. But they don't want me to broach the subjects with them, as they believe it will harm our friendship. But somehow they think it will not harm the friendship to post these openly and yet close the door on healthy debate.

I am indeed a "foolish third party voter" - I do indeed "waste" my vote by believing in change, a different track and breaking free of a two party system where I believe the two parties aren't truly that different from one another. However, once long ago, I was a conservative that supported the Republican party, because I believed that party was most aligned with the values of freedom and personal responsibility. Those are my most important political values, no matter the topic. Environmentalism: we need freedom from the government and to take personal responsibility. Socialized programs/welfare: we need lower taxes, freedom from the government and need to take responsibility for our lives and our families, churches, etc.. The second amendment, health care, the military...I lean on every issue toward less government and more personal responsibility.

For a long time I believed the Republican party was aligned with those views. So it absolutely appalls me to see my current Republican supporting friends trying to silence the opposition, trying to ban certain personal practices in this country, trying to take a monopoly on the moral ground. This isn't freedom. This is their particular brand of what is best, and trying to shove it down someone else's throat under the guise of freedom. That isn't a republic, and it isn't even is some disguised theocratic agenda to make every knee bend to their version of what is best.

Do I prefer this current executive administration? No. But I recognize the majority of voters (at least, electoral voters, which is the system we operate under) chose this and I respect that. I felt the same under the last administration. That still allows me to be (very) concerned about policies, it still allows me the freedom to voice my dissenting opinion, but I do so recognizing that this was the voters' choice.

When Obama was president, his supporters took a tone of, "the voters have spoken, you need to suck it up!" And the right was extremely resentful. But the right has taken the exact same tone now that Trump is president, learning nothing from their own experience on the other side.  So what do I foresee for the 2020 election? Regardless of the winner, I know it'll be more of the same: division, disrespect and not one inch closer to making this country a better place. Doesn't matter who wins.

I do not lose heart. I do not believe we are born to no purpose. I will continue to work hard, stand up for what I believe in, throw my support behind causes that are important to me, stand heartily for freedom even when sometimes that means I am forced to contend with decisions that I disagree with. Because even though how one person chooses to utilize their freedom may astound, offend, or even disgust me, I respect and will defend their right to do so.

As I hope others would do for me.

I do not want to silence, ban, deport or lock up the people with whom I disagree. I disagree with nearly every friend and family member I have on most points of politics, but I want them to exercise their right to express themselves. I even want to learn from them and understand them even when I think they are wrong. I do not believe the solution to our nations' problems is to silence, ban, regulate, create laws against or lock up people with whom we don't see eye to eye.

And it astounds me that I have friends who find my line of thinking so abhorrent that they won't even allow discussion.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Voltaire


  1. Very well put!
    I enjoy discussing politics, but I'm just not nearly as well versed in the topic like you are!


Post a Comment