I'm daunted by it. There's so much to know, so much thinking about how one's getting that knowledge -- how to filter out bias? how to be reasonably consistent in one's beliefs? how to act on them? how to not be a jerk about one's beliefs? -- that it threatens me with headaches.
Partly, and honestly, I do not enjoy arguing. Plenty of people thrive on it; I don't. It can easily wear me down. I keep wanting to avoid that feeling; that turns into a why bother? attitude. But when I see that attitude in others, I'm annoyed, too. One time I posted something about -- way to be vague, Chris, but I don't have to be specific to make the point -- someone's efforts to improve a political situation. A friend responded; that friend's response almost literally was I don't believe that would work, so: that won't work. I resisted posting in response
Note to self: never post about politics in your own journal ever again.
Yeah, I was a little frustrated. That friend thinking it can't be done would mean that it can't be done, ignoring that the very thing I'd posted was about someone trying to do it. There's the saying "The person who says it cannot be done should not get in the way of the person doing it," but that seemed condescending and rude of me to do so, so I didn't. OK; we're not going to agree. But I let that get in the way of arguing for what I think is right.
Also, frustratingly, often it seems I know enough politically to -- how's this for self-defeating? -- shoot down my own arguments. I find myself mentally arguing a point, but then see how someone can say Wait, you believe THAT, but you do THIS; so you're a hypocrite, and I no longer have to listen to you. And not be able to come up with a strong enough counter-argument -- no, a counter-counter-argument to that you're a hypocrite counter-argument. I know me better than anyone, so I can spot those weak spots in my logic really easily. I can argue with me very, very easily. *grins wryly*
And even the best arguments can be ignored. I also worry about that. How do you react to "I don't care about your argument, I'm going to keep believing what I believe?" That's something else that can shut me down. That I can let shut me down. I don't want to hit that wall of "I don't care."
It's very easy for me to go to "want to ragingly scream" mode when thinking about or listening to political arguments, which is almost certainly my frustration and emotion of thinking about politics getting expressed. I don't want to be too emotional about it; I want to be logical and thoughtful about it; but the desire just to scream "YOU'RE WRONG" gets strong. Or, to be more specific, "I BELIEVE YOU'RE WRONG." To not get too emotional; to not want to scream or be a jerk (and oh, I am fully capable of jerkiness when annoyed); I need to learn that.
Because ignoring politics, in all its messes and complications, is a copout. I don't enjoy them, at least not so far, but I'm too young to be set in my ways like that and say "F*** it, arguing's pointless."
Just be warned: if I'm arguing with you, I'm doing something I fundamentally don't like to do. So I'd be doing it for a reason. Please listen.