There are three topics I have learned to steer clear of in all conversations. Unless I am in the mood to aggravate people, three things never to ever bring up. Three topics never to touch.
- Gay rights
It’s getting harder to find a person who does not have a rabidly passionate stand on these three, and even rarer to find a person who will give you an objective, calm, evenheaded discussion. Instead many people will froth at the mouth, their eyes will blaze with ire and indignation, the foulest invective will billow from their mouths when they meet another person on the opposite end. There are atheists who despise Christianity as much as Christians despise atheists. And oooh. You have been on facebook. You KNOW that an update about gay rights will not yield many LOL and smiley face comments.
Now, I am no fool, so I won’t tell you on which side Ireally stand, I have watched enough Boston Legal to know how to convincingly argue any position, so I can dissemble if need be, but I will not ruin my dinner by starting a topic that will have someone spitting onto my plate; I only brought it up because I recently learned that there is yet another one. A fourth no-no.
Never ever mention your political views to anyone unless you have heard theirs first and you agree with them. Never ever do this.
If this election has taugth me anything (and it has taught me a lot) it is that just because Mwenda and Kabushenga disagree in a civil and friendly fashion on TV, it’s not always going to be like that in real life. That civility is camera tricks; in real life people can go insane over politics. His is a discussion on a political issue.
Me: Casually, I state my position. With a question mark at the end, moreover, as if to show that I am still thinking bout this.
Political Opposite: I cease to smile. A frown darkens my brow, I set my jaw and declare the contrary with finality.
Me: That is an interesting take on the matter, Opposite, but there is a small incosintency here that you have not addressed.
Opposite: I repeat my position in more words and with a firmer tone.
Me: Yes, but what about that inconsistency? Don’t you want to explain it away so that it can stop compromising your argument? Then I might be convinced and agree with you.
Opposite: I have not even noticed any flaw in my position. My position is perfect and to prove this, I will repeat it even more firmly and with even stronger language!
Me: Well, since you have not corrected the inconsistency, I just cannot believe you.
Opposite: Only malice or stupidity can prevent a person from fully agreeing with me. No other option is possible. You are either evil or an idiot!
Opposite: I am not going to listen to you. I shall just decide on my own which of the two you are. I will go with Malice. you are evil. You hate God.
Me: How do you even come to that conclusion?
Opposite: You hate God, you hate Uganda and you hate The Children!
Me: Some sort of protest that will yeild no value because you are not even listening to what I say.
Opposite: Hah! Take this personal attack! And this other!