Why “Never Talk Politics in Polite Company” is Killing our Country

If we can’t disagree with each other productively, we’ve already lost

Jeff Swift
Feb 27 · 2 min read
Photo by Jopwell from Pexels

Most of us believe in the power of government of, by, and for the people.

We are actively undermining that power with the advice to “never talk politics or religion in polite company.” If we can’t discuss important issues like politics and religion among polite company, we avoid practicing the very skill that is required to create the kind of people that can manage a democracy.


When we ban politics and religion from polite company, we we are overtly relegating them to impolite company.


Avoiding disagreement ignores our responsibility to become the type of citizenry that is able to discuss and decide and debate. We will never be that people until we start trying to become that people: through deliberation we become better able to deliberate.

When we ban politics and religion from polite company, we we are overtly relegating them to impolite company. And then we wonder why politics is sometimes so nasty.

A democracy is only functional if We the People make it so. If we ignore the better Picards of our nature and decline to “make it so,” then we’re leaving the biggest decisions of our country in the hands of folks who are more interested in turning a profit, winning an advancement, or earning a raise.

We can’t blame them: we’ve handed them the keys to the country and tuned out.

Jeff Swift

Written by

PhD in Communication, Rhetoric, & Digital Media. Democracy junkie. Father of three.

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