Let’s say you have somebody on a rant about politics. First things first. Listen to them. Listen to them intently and do not interrupt. Interrupting is for the weak, the scared, and the close-minded. It’s just you petrified that somebody is going to get a complete opinion out. So knock it off. It’s just you thinking you’re right and we’ve already discussed that you aren’t.
When somebody is talking about politics, they are energized like a wind-up toy. But like a wind-up toy, the energy loses momentum and so will they. Ride it out, because this is where it gets interesting.
Do the unexpected and take notes
In Upward Politics, taking either mental notes or real ones is key. I personally carry a little notepad that fits in my wallet along with a pen that fits on my keychain so I can take notes on the fly. Which, by the way, is all the time. Have you ever gone to an organized political argument? Neither have I, these discussions just pop up randomly in most cases, so I’m always prepared.
By the way, nobody is expecting somebody to just start taking notes. It’s kinda funny to see their reactions. I like to bring out my notebook and pen just right after they start. They interrupt themselves. What is that? Is that a notebook? Then I just tell them that I’m a collector of viewpoints and I might have some questions. I may not know the answers myself and if you don’t either, that’s fair. It does give me something to research later. If people start inquiring, tell them it’s just Upward Politics.
Folks, this is the first episode, so they won’t know what this is yet. It’s a non-binary third view on politics and the best part is, it’s not really all that threatening in arguments. We go with the grain, not against it.
Create spin-off questions
I start taking bits and pieces from the speaker’s viewpoint. I will jot down questions that spin off the main point. For example, and I’m going to strip as much traditional politics as I can from this:
I had a friend who was complaining about a politician who cut funding for a program. Just off of that, after he was done speaking, I had these questions:
- What is the purpose of the program?
- How much was the cut and what is their budget as it stands after the cut?
- What types of projects are they working on?
- (If answered) What is the cost of the projects?
My friend didn’t have much in the way of answers for most of those questions, but neither did I. He did get a little angry that I was asking him, but I simply let him know that I don’t know the answers either. I was hoping he did, but told him I’m going to go and find out later. The thing is, when I had some time, I actually did look up the answers. I even called up the department in charge of the funding to get some questions answered. They were like: Are you a reporter?, and I just told them, “no I practice Upward Politics and I gotta run these answers down” They got curious a bit and maybe looked us up. Too bad we didn’t have a website back then.
The thing is, I grew in knowledge off of that discussion. I also didn’t lose a friend that day. He calmed down once he knew I wasn’t the traditional opposition of his and we’re still good friends to this day.