Politics. One should never discuss politics on a first date they say.
Or bring it up at a Broadway show for that matter, as I learned by reading a facebook comment today. We learned that politics are best left aside at work events and birthday parties, at dinners with parents of the new boyfriend or lunch times with little known colleagues.
Too dangerous a territory, discussing politics was slowly but surely banned from the table. Think about it. There are so many unwritten rules that we’re not supposed to discuss politics.
But why is that and does it any make sense? Why is it, that discussing politics was frowned upon for so long?
I wonder when discussing politics became a no-go. Was it Knigge? And why are we still adhering to these rules?
Is it because our voice might be heard, or because we have an opinion? Which might be different than our neighbour’s or might cause our co-worker to reflect. Or is it because we, in turn, might hear things we don’t agree with and might have to open our strong opinion up to challenges? Are we afraid, lazy or so adapted that we won’t discuss politics?
But isn’t the cornerstone of a democracy debate? The freedom of speech we so fight for. Why do we give it up by our own free will? Why do we silence our opinions at the table only for them to bubble under the surface for so long?
If we look at it logically, in a democracy, society is politics. We are politics. Our actions and fears and aspirations drive politics. Why then should we not discuss politics as if it was some third party topic that had nothing to do with our lives?
Shouldn’t we rather take the chance and give our opinions a voice ? A chance to debate with others’ opinions? A chance for our opinions to defend themselves and to reflect? A chance to be heard and understood and misunderstood as we all are? Isn’t it a strength to be able to debate politics?
Politics is a noble topic – if we fill it with content. Not something to be ashamed of or to be swept under the rug.
So let’s give our opinions a chance. Let’s give politics a place at the table again. And an ostentatious one at that. And in doing so, maybe we can come to realise that in a democracy, we are all politicians too.