Image Source: Elle Magazine
By Faye Couros | @CourosFaye
I appreciate your opinion…but.
I think we all know that feeling of dread on a night out after indulging in too many pomegranate cocktails when someone brings up politics.
Even if the conversation about everyday sexual harassment starts innocently, it’s almost a ticking time bomb before things escalate and your night is ruined.
I politely refused to talk about the election and agreed to another more appropriate time.
Why? Because when I have convinced myself to leave the house, I want to enjoy myself; I don’t want to talk about politics and deal with the inevitable argument.
Since the emergence of Twitter and clickbait titles, most people secretly read headlines, but not the article.
This collective bad habit has diluted our grasp on current affairs, and half the time I am involved in an argument about politics, everyone is arguing the headlines, not the facts.
An American study by The Media Insight Project found that only 41 per cent of newsreaders read beyond the headlines, and it’s suggested the number may be lower.
I will admit I store article headlines in my pocket ready to shoot out like bullets in an argument I am losing.
Embarrassingly when I am drinking, you bet I will alter a few headlines or forget to win the fight.
Alcohol can inevitably bring out the worst in us and our integrity is often found in a gutter after midnight.
To avoid arguments that result in someone shouting ‘you’re a communist’ and to foster open-minded and respectful conversations, it’s best doing it sober.
Sober conversations about politics are less likely to result in someone shouting ‘you’re a communist’ or realising you told your friend their opinions are stupid.
Plus, here are some things more fun to talk about at a party than politics:
1. Whatever TV show everyone is currently obsessed with (see Killing Eve).
2. Horoscopes, and if you’re really cool, natal charts.
3. Which Spice Girl you are.
All these topics can be debated and are more likely to result in laughter and banter than a loud row—no one leaves feeling inferior.
Important political topics can sometimes feel scary to speak about because we are worried about social rejection.
Results published in Digital News Report: Australia 2018 by the University of Canberra detail the anxiety felt by young people to talk about politics online.
It found that 61 per cent of Australians in the age group 25-34 “were careful about expressing their political views because this could make colleagues or acquaintances think differently about them.”
Maybe these results show a general apathy towards politics or perhaps it’s suggesting that no matter what end on the political spectrum you fall on, vilification is one left or right view away.
There is a chance my ever-pressing fear of being disliked may be why I decide to withdraw from political conversations at social events, and this may be why more than half of us are scared to make political posts.
I also know that once I get into a vortex I will argue my side too far; and if I find myself in a heated argument while intoxicated, then it’s almost definite I will.
Especially in regards to topics like feminism, gay rights, and sensitive social topics, there is nothing worse than hearing someone make an unsolicited, derogatory comment.
While in that moment, liquid courage may make me bold enough to correct the person, I know it will come at the cost of a good, civil night.
However, where is the line between letting things slide and being complacent?
An ABC Life article reports that out of all age groups “18 to 24-year-olds have the lowest voter enrolment rate.”
I wonder if we are apathetic or simply tired of the past decade of pathetic politics in Australia and we have all switched off (except for those passionate few)?
From my experience with the Australian education system, there is a gap in our schooling when it comes to politics.
I wasn’t taught about our political system until I took Legal Studies in year 11, and if I hadn’t, it would never have found its way into my curriculum.
Young Australians aren’t taught about our political structure, how to debate or what policies we have in our country.
So how are we meant to navigate conversations about these topics sober let alone under the influence?
A much as I hate to admit it, I am terrible at vocalising my thoughts (hence, the writing), I don’t debate well, and I hate how especially opinionated I am when I’m drunk.
Honestly, I am tired, and I really can’t be arsed defending my views on Peel Street when I probably wish I were home anyways.