So I'm making this concerted effort to be a mindful advocate, to respectfully disagree whenever I run into a difference of opinion... especially on the Internet... and especially around politics. There's so much digital yelling out there, it's unmindful, and the more I see the less I want to be a part of it.
But then I also know passions are high and these decisions are vital. We should all stand our ground in the fight against injustice and inequality. It's important, so it's easy to get caught up in it.
What I'm searching for is a balance--being an advocate for progress but also toning down the rhetoric, turning up the kindness, and maybe using the simple act of a respect to actually sway people to your cause.
You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, so the saying goes. This is true in pretty much all aspects of life, but it especially applies to political persuasion. Who in their right mind is going to change their right mind when you unmindfully toss insults?
Let's be clear though, taking a mindful approach to politics doesn't require silence in the face of injustice. While it's true that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, sometimes those flies are total douchebags and need to be swatted away.
When someone is contemptuous, when their stance harms you or your people, when they resort to cruelty, when they throw all ration out the window, when they support a level of ignorance that could lead to the destruction of our species (like climate science deniers), by all means call them out. Don't stand for it. Don't ever kowtow to hate, bigotry, corrupt ideology, or downright treacherous zealotry.
But when you call them out, don't stoop to their level and be a douchebag in return.
If you really want to advocate for your cause, it's time to stop the irrational anger. Stealing a few cues from mindfulness, here are some suggestions to help us all get there.
Every time we respond to someone who disagrees with us we have a choice: come at them with the force of a thousand poo emojis, or respectfully disagree. That choice is the difference between our sanity and high blood pressure. It's the difference between a sleepless night and warm fuzzy dream. It's the difference between entrenched opinions and persuasive arguments.
I know this isn't easy, I get angry over political differences too. But next time you start to fume, take a mindfulness break. Step away from the laptop or your phone, take a deep breath, and think about what you are about to say in return. Does it foster a positive debate? Will it educate and inform? Will it encourage people to reconsider their opinion? Or are you responding to their douchebaggery by becoming a douchebag yourself?
Don't be a douchebag, respectfully disagree.
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