When Is It Okay To Talk Politics?

When Is It Okay To Talk Politics?

My goal when I originally set up this site was to post value-added content at least once a week. In a good week, if inspired or time would allow, I’d knock out two posts. That would be ideal. This week, though, my mind felt like a ball in a pinball machine – bouncing from one news story to another, surrounded by so much noise, and left spinning. I just couldn’t think of anything to say.

Then I realized that wasn’t true.

I actually have a lot to say. Maybe too much. We all do. If you’re witnessing the events that surround us, you have thoughts. Your responses depend on the past you lived. Your actions depend on the future you imagine. But we all have something to say.

Our culture has rules, many unwritten. One of the most prevalent is to never talk politics, sex, or religion at a dinner party. Another says: If you are a job seeker (like myself), suspend your social media profiles or ensure your privacy settings prevent views from people who you do not know.

It makes sense. Your profiles may reflect your religious, societal, and political beliefs. Polarizing issues like these can put hard stops to developing relationships or drive wedges in existing ones. You don’t want to hurt your personal or professional life by bringing up hot topics too soon or without proper groundwork. It can be dangerous to talk about triggering issues, like politics.

That’s not what I’m doing.

The issues that dominate the news cycle today are not political issues. Deciding to put on a face mask before going out in public is not a political issue. Stating flatly that Black Lives Matter is not a political issue. No political party has either issue as a part of their set agenda, and no person holding office runs on those platforms.

It’s okay to talk politics when you’re actually not talking politics at all. The current news stories aren’t political. These are humanitarian issues.

Wearing a face mask in public is proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Even though you may not feel sick, you could possibly be spreading the virus without knowing it. With a mask, you’re protecting others from contracting it who may be more vulnerable to die from it

You’re saving lives.

Stating that Black Lives Matter is simply saying you care about the African American community. It’s not saying you care for them more or others for less. You’re saying that right now in our society you see they need support, and you’re ready and want to help.

By doing so, you’re saving lives.

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

Desmond Tutu

These are humanitarian acts.

Yes, these issues have been politicized. Immediate assumptions are made when we see someone not wearing a mask or if we see someone posting on social media “#blacklivesmatter.” Assuming we know the political affiliation of the person is the act of politicizing, not the actual moment when the mask is worn/not worn or the Black Lives Matter phrase is stated or not.

American society has been a hotbed for political debate, especially in the last few years. Friends on Facebook, politicians on Twitter, commentators on networks… the political rhetoric from both political parties has been unescapable. For this reason, it provides an easy out. When a new issue arises, we suddenly want to label it this or that, judge one another for doing it or not doing it. Politics have become a scapegoat for many of our decisions and actions.

Somewhere along the way, many have lost the ability to make decisions based on the betterment of humanity.

The choice of wearing a mask or saying Black Lives Matter is not deciding on one political party over the other or voting for one politician over another. These are choices you make to help other members of your society, to acknowledge your influence in your community, and to promote the welfare of another human.

As leaders, these are choices you will have to make. Those on your team are watching your actions during this time, probably more than ever before.

That’s why countless companies promoted measures they’re taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It’s the reason why so many corporations are releasing statements stating Black Lives Matter and sharing ways they are contributing to supporting causes.

This explains why I wear a mask whenever I go out in public and why I unapologetically say that Black Lives Matter.

It’s not a political choice. It’s a human one.

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