Fighting the opinionated human ego and navigating our political unknown

Photo: Alex McKenzie

Fighting the opinionated human ego and navigating our political unknown

Around campus, and as a nation, most would agree: We’re confused. Politically, in particular. The lack of certainty, the surplus of speculation and the overall distrust of the government bode poorly for communication and separating the truth out from the amplitude of bullshit. Every conversation seems to loop back on itself, repeating clichés, furthering rumor and speculation and getting us, at least on a smaller scale, nowhere.

For some time, there were, and continue to be, large movements centered on “starting conversations.” Spreading awareness is useful when it’s handled correctly, and, as with anything, in moderation. However, we may have started conversations a bit too well, and perhaps too frequently.

It’s no new idea that political chaos and uncertainty promotes speculation as humans need validation and certainty. Social media can often feed this need while inflating these speculations and inevitably furthering confusion. Unfortunately, this is where we decide to have a lot of our “conversations.” Even in person, politics float to the head of conversations or meander in through some vaguely relevant topic. In the end, online or in person, the same thing happens: speculation, confusion and speculation again.

A large scale example? The Mueller Report. Even before it was released, speculations ran rampant, often being misconstrued as truth, and furthered the paranoia and confusion about Russian intervention in the United State’s political affairs. On a smaller scale, I’ve sat through dinners gone sour in Commons, each side of the table arguing adamantly in favor of their upcoming political candidate, all while trading glaring daggers across burrito bowls.

Everyone knows politics doesn’t make good dinner conversation, and furthermore, you can’t understand them any better when you try to change someone’s opinion. Yet it seems we run through the same cycle over and over.

Politics have become an inflated issue. There’s this odd but understandable energy surrounding these issues and political discourse; a foreboding sense that something very bad will happen soon unless we prevent it.

I’m not the first to offer a solution to the chaotic, stressful and often maddening political landscape we currently navigate. We may just need to step off the “having conversations” bandwagon, at least partially. The conversations we’re having are perhaps too close to the situation to maintain a objective and logical viewpoint amidst panic.

Political trends and cycles reveal themselves more clearly in retrospect, and although we may worry, many times, these situations just require time. We, as individuals, and as a campus, though hold a significant amount of political potential, can’t parse through the chaos overnight. So for now, maybe we spare our Salsarita companions from heated political debates and, if not avoid political conversation, keep it to a minimum. It’s hard to go forward in the dark.