Appealing to the Good: How Respect and Objectivity Can Mend Divide

Divide within politics has always existed, but the current state of politics has the gap among right wing conservatives and left wing democrats getting wider and ultimately it needs much repairing. Bridging the gap between these two groups, however, is no easy task and it’s not unreasonable to think this job impossible. But just because it’s improbable and unrealistic that differences can ever be erased entirely, doesn’t mean efforts to alleviate tension and bring about constructive cohesion in political views is unreasonable. The goal is not uniformity within political standings, it’s a better understanding and positive means of persuading the other side to your way of thinking without causing the opposing view to become defensive, feel threatened and most importantly, feel inferior.

Perhaps part of the solution to a less divided political system is the removal of hierarchical thinking, whether that be morally, societally, monetarily and so forth. By not allowing any form of superiority or aggression to leak into one’s arguments, could this simple tactic make an opposing person more likely to objectively think about your stance or opinion? It would seem so, the famous Dale Carnegie in his well known book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” makes a pretty fool proof list of thing to avoid in debate. His ideas differ greatly from the world of debate we see in politics today, and offer a refreshing (and long known) method for better resolution in debate. Richard Feloni, a writer for Business Insider summarized twelve ways be more persuasive from Carnegie’s book, and to summarize them yet again here they are:

  • Don’t try winning
  • Respect other’s opinions
  • Admit when you’re wrong immediately
  • Always be friendly
  • Try to reach common grounds
  • Let the other person do as much of the talking as possible
  • Make the other person think your conclusion is their own
  • Figure out why the other person thinks what they do
  • Understand how the other person’s opinion works in their favor
  • Frame your argument with morality (we all want to think we are doing the best for the world)
  • Be dramatic in order to appeal to emotions
  • challenge the other person to prove their opinion to be true.

Is it unreasonable to assume all sides of a debate could adhere to these tactics? Perhaps the average person would struggle to utilize all of these techniques, but that’s where the true and constructive victory will lay; in the hands of those willing to do so. A debate against someone who is intently taking into consideration both your ideas and their own for the greater good is indeed a powerful opponent. With everything you say they are noting your motives, constantly taking into consideration your opinions and would not even be in the debate if they didn’t think they could win. Perhaps though, society is geared towards the opposite and toxic form or debate, perhaps the age old lessons Carnegie puts forth are not viewed as valid any more? Trump did win the election with almost none of the twelve methods mentioned above, perhaps next election his terrible example of how to debate will make proper methods shine. Either way, peace is worth fighting for and it’s not worth being a toxic player in political debates even if that’s what seems to work.