Start the Conversation with Your Sad Flag Pin
Charles M. Schulz famously said: “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people . . . Religion, Politics, and The Great Pumpkin.” And perhaps now, more than ever, he’s right!
Talking politics is darn risky right now. In fact, a study revealed that one in three Americans has been called names or chastised for openly voicing opinions.
And that’s especially true in the workplace. Or around the family dinner table, for that matter. Or in the supermarket.
Wear Your Sad Flag Pin With Pride
Let’s face it, the wearing of an American flag pin of any description has been a major source of debate of late. Who’s wearing one, who isn’t? Who’s wearing one upside down?
The upside of all this is that debate is healthy. And it should be carried out in a civilized fashion.
We’ve been hearing stories that are just plain embarrassing, like co-workers refusing to sit next to one another because one voted for Trump. Or how about unfriending people on Facebook because they’ve got a Trump sticker on their car. How old are we?
Here Are The Rules
Instead of behaving like toddlers, just get it out there and have a conversation. But there are some rules.
#1 Wear your Sad Flag Pin, as a gesture of goodwill.
#2 Don’t judge other people. We are all entitled to our point of view and, just because it isn’t the same as yours, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Keep an open mind and find common ground.
#3 Don’t set out to re-educate people. A good conversation is an education in itself. We listen, we learn, we consider different points of view. If you set out to change someone’s opinion, you will be seen as confrontational.
#4 Don’t bite back. There’s a good chance someone will try and goad you into snapping. Don’t buy into it. Be the bigger person.
And if you unintentionally say the wrong thing and upset someone, own it. Admit to making a mistake and move on.
#5 You catch more flies with honey. An online experiment used actors to produce different short videos on the deportation of illegal immigrants. One version was opinionated; the other respectful, considered and positive.
When shown to subjects with a different opinion, the results were telling. The speakers in the first video were described as abrasive and ignorant. In the second video, they were rated more likable, more diplomatic and more persuasive.
So what’s the point here? The point is that important issues need to be calmly and sensibly debated. That is the only way we will find a resolution.
Excessive force, ignorance, misrepresentation, and single-mindedness will achieve nothing. As we have seen of late.
Keep An Open Mind
The best way to approach tough subjects, be it in the workplace, around the dinner table, or in Congress, is with compassion and an open mind. Listen and you may just learn something.
And always, always wear your Sad Flag Pin with pride, because there are many reasons to be happy in America.