Friday, October 16, 2015

Letters to Baby P: Talkin' Politics

Baby P,

It's fun for me to think about you, your brain's development and the fact that for a little while longer you are going to be blissfully unaware that there is this great big world around you. It has good. It has bad. And sometimes we debate what falls into which category. You're coming into a great country. It has progress still to make, but you will be free, Baby P, to be your own person and develop your own opinions. I am excited to watch that process!

Your mom is opinionated. Maybe I grew up differently than a lot of folks. Whereas many households were taught "don't talk religion and politics," my household promoted those discussions. We'd agree sometimes. Disagree sometimes. Pretend to disagree sometimes just to see how the argument would play out. So I was eager to throw myself into a world of Political Science. Guess what? It is an entire department full of people who love political discussions. For four years, I took classes that encouraged open debate and fostered a climate of doing so respectfully. As you might expect, law school offers its own invitation to disagree, engage discussion and foster debate. I've always sought it out and never really embraced the notion that it might be taboo or impolite. Your dad thinks I can be an agitator, which I admit is true sometimes. Baby P, there will always be situations when the best approach is to bite your tongue. In the world of social media, your mom is still learning where that boundary is.

I want you to know that very few issues are black and white. Often, there are nuances to arguments that are important to consider. It is often more important to be open-minded than consistent, because changing your mind about something is okay. It's okay to be wrong. It's okay to admit it. Reasonable minds can and will disagree. We inform our opinions based a lot of things - but mostly on our own circumstances and upbringing. Always consider those factors in attempting to understand from where others derive their perspectives. Ask questions, but always be polite. There is a difference between being inquisitive and being condescending. Don't choose your friends based on their politics or you'll be lonely. Surround yourself with a diverse range of thoughts and ideas. Consider that many opinions are emotionally charged and express sensitivity to those opinions. Consider the fact that many opinions are faith-based and be respectful of those as well. Do your best to equip your opinions with facts.

But here's the thing: you're not me. I don't expect nor want you to be my clone. You might be more like your dad. He prefers to stay out of it. You might find a happy medium. You might not even care about any of it. That is your prerogative. We will do our best to answer your questions, give our opinions and encourage you to develop your own. The only thing I ask, Baby P, is that if a passion sparks in you as it did in me, that you approach political discourse with courtesy and respect. It isn't about being right. It isn't about backing a winning team. It is about refining your understanding of the world around you and the people in it in order to improve the trajectory of the nation as well as other nations affected by our decisions. Don't ever doubt your ability to have a positive impact on the world. And when you think you're dreaming too big, dream bigger.

No comments:

Post a Comment

09 10 11 12
Blogging tips