Political Civility – An Oxymoron?

Democratic-Republican-political-discourseIt's not over – the political conversation. Oh the election is over – but the constant barrage of rhetoric and name calling and mud slinging is still going strong. Accordingly I have created a little tool bag with some ready responses for when things start heading in a bad direction.

1.  When someone suggests there's something wrong with you for your position: "I certainly respect your allegiance to your party. I appreciate your respecting my allegiance to mine."

2.  When someone says your facts are wrong: "I'm relying on "x" as my source, but perhaps it's wrong. I'll go back and investigate a little further. In the meantime, where does your information come from?"

3.  When you are clear someone does not want to hear what you have to say, "I'm so grateful to live in a country where we can have opposing views and openly express them. If you are not interested in hearing mine, I certainly respect that."

My first choice is to avoid situations where conflict can arise by steering clear of politics whenever possible.  I firmly believe that most people don't have these discussions to LEARN something about the other party or position, they have them to try and persuade the other person to stop their craziness, see the light and join them on the one true path.  And I have never seen a single person surface from such a conversation remarking, "Oh my gosh! How could I have been such a fool! I no longer believe all those things I believed one hour ago! I'm healed!!!!"

But I do contend that if we choose to have discussions (and I sincerely hope we do), we make the choice to have them with respect and civility.

Linda Larsen, Motivational Speaker, NOT politician




Motivational Speaker Linda Larsen, CSP has been described by meeting planners and audiences as "hysterically funny," and "riveting." Known for her ability to connect on an authentic and emotional level with audiences, her spontaneous sense of humor, and her engaging and powerful stories, Linda is passionate about sharing ideas to help people live their finest, best, and most productive lives. Her riveting and true story of being kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint by an escaped convict, and the strategies she used to escape, will give people the tools THEY need to rise above any of life's toughest challenges, to communicate more effectively with THEIR difficult person, and to find creative solutions to THEIR problems. To book motivational speaker, Linda Larsen: 941-927-4700

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  1. Linda, you would be a great politician! Seriously, would you ever consider that direction? Given your grace, tact and ability to listen (let alone your outstanding platform skills), I believe you could make change for the better. Just sayin…

    • Well, thank you for the kind remarks, Colette. In the last decade I have actually become very interested in politics. I listen to as many political talks shows and read as much as I can about the subject. Then about a month ago we started watching The West Wing from season one. We are half way through season three now, and last night I remarked to John that if I could change directions in my career, I would go into politics. But then I thought about how much I'd have to learn about government (I mean, exactly what does the Ways & Means Committee DO, anyway??) And I realized I don't have any interest in doing anything where I'd have to go back to square one on the educational front. I mean, heck, it's all I can do to stay educated on what it takes to be a successful motivational speaker! And I've done this for 20 years!! But I do thank you for the compliment!

  2. Wow, great toolbox!  And of course these responses can be used for ANY differing opinions, not just politics.  Like you, I try to steer clear so I won't have to wip out any of these "tools"!

  3. I agree, Linda. We don't get things solved when we work against each other and attack each other. And, unfortunately, when issues arise that involve core beliefs (not just religious, but all other beliefs about personal responsibility, etc.) –  beliefs that some people are willing to die for – then it gets harder and harder not to be passionate about it. And while it is so tempting to just bow out of the conversation and let the chips fall where they may, we do have a voice. The government works for the people – and we are the people. WE decide. We vote. We do have a part to play. And not to sound overly dramatic here, but I believe that if we head down a road to revising the Constitution – we could be headed for a revolution. I've spoken to people from other countries who look at us and see us headed that way.  And the things we are "discussing" are the things that people believe in so strongly they are willing to die for it.  So, Linda, it is vitally important that you and I (who I suspect might be sitting on opposite ends of the table for many of these issues) remember what is more important – and that is bringing people together instead of driving them apart. Teaching them how to discuss and solve problems with love and grace. Showing them that we are stronger when we are united – and that, yes, we can still link arms in unity even when we don't see eye to eye on everything. To help remind each other what is important – and not to let our differences divide us. That when it comes right down to it – no matter what we believe – we all hurt the same, love the same, treasure our children, and want to make the world a better place. We might not be as different as we think. 

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