How NOT to Avoid "Talking Politics"
by Shawn P. Healy, PhD, Democracy Program Director Last Tuesday, I had the honored of speaking at a community forum in Chicago’s 47th Ward sponsored by partner and grantee Facing History and Ourselves . It was titled “ How NOT to Avoid ‘Talking Politics ’,” and my remarks are excerpted below. According to Hill’s Manual of Social and Business Forms , a guide to writing and etiquette from 1879, we should “…not discuss politics or religion in general company. You probably would not convert your opponent, and he will not convert you. To discuss those topics is to arouse feeling without any good result.” Today’s program will test the wisdom of this time-honored adage. The truth is that most of us don’t discuss politics at all, and when we do it’s with people that share similar ideological views. These like-minded conversations can lead to ideological amplification, where there is even less diversity in political opinions on the issues of the day post-deliberation. Consider a