Our Divided Nation: Part Three

Talking with family about politics.

Posted Sep 12, 2018

As we discussed in the past two blog posts, fear has divided this country. The Right is afraid of the Left and the Left is afraid of the Right. The behavior of many of us would suggest that we are frightened, and when we are frightened we do not think clearly. We do not think rationally and we do not listen. Changing this involves being able to manage our own fear and to connect with and communicate with those who may have a different opinion from our own.

In this post I want to present a challenge question from the Bounce Back game, a serious game that asks participants to respond to a challenge by demonstrating how they would use the skills and the attitudes of resilience. The challenge I will present is from a deck of challenge questions, "Blue and Red Politics."

The holidays are coming up and your planning on spending them with your family. You haven't been home in a while. Your parents are quite liberal. They have encouraged you to think for yourself. Since you have been away at college you have spend much of your time working with a fairly conservative group of students on campus. You have found yourself agreeing with many of their positions and ideas and plan to support their candidates in the fall elections. You're uncertain as to how your parents will take all of this. You haven't told them yet but assume it will come out while you are home. You would like to have a relaxed holiday. How will you deal with the upcoming visit?

We would encourage you to discuss this challenge with other friends and perhaps with family members who know your parents. What would they encourage you to do in the situation? What will you do?

First of all, we would encourage you to reconnect with your parents and attempt to talk with them openly about the way you look at the world now as opposed to when you left for college. Ask questions. Ones that you really want answers to. Engage them in a respectful way. Become better aware of their fears and concerns. Again, assume that much of their behavior may be motivated by feelings and specifically by fear, a fear perhaps of losing the gains that they feel their political champions have made the last few years. Control your feelings. Be confident that your position has merit. Keep talking. Don't shut down.

You and those you have talked with may have other ideas about how you can deal with the situation. It is a common one. Don't feel that you and your family are unique in this regard.

In the next post we will present another challenge question from the Bounce Back game and the deck "Blue and Red Politics."