I had a conversation with some of my co-workers about Donald Trump.
I know what you’re thinking—politics in the workplace is never a safe idea. How could I have known whether I was talking to a Trump supporter or not? How did I guard what I said, so as not to blow the situation up? How did I get into such a conversation in the first place?
Honestly, it wasn’t that bad.
I was approached first, and then the conversation went from there. A few more coworkers joined in. All in all, a good conversation.
I had an engaging, productive conversation about Trump, the presidential race, racism, and the state of America with four coworkers. All with their own varying views. It’s what I love about these types of conversations.
This conversation struck me as a great example of what The Political Informer is about: Discussing the issues in a non-confrontational manner, guaranteed to end on a good note. Not focusing on winning an argument, but trying to come to an understanding of each other’s beliefs.
Forget debates. They’re counterproductive.
So, I’m going to go through this conversation I had at work, to illustrate how a meaningful, civil discussion about a variety of hotly contested topics should look.
The Breakdown of My Donald Trump Conversation at Work
How Did it Start?
One of my coworkers had known I follow politics. So here and there he’ll come up to me and ask me what I think about a current political issue. I guess he just wants to talk with someone, and I’m all too happy to oblige.
“Hey JP,” he called out to me across the room, “you’re into politics, right?”
“Yeah man.” I replied.
“Have you followed at all what happened in Chicago?”
“You mean the Trump rally?” I clarified.
“Yeah,” he responded, “What do you think about what happened?”
“Hmmmm…” and that’s how it started.
The Progression of the Conversation
The progression of any conversation, especially a political one, is important. By dissecting a conversation after it’s happened you can see where, why, and how it ended up where it did.
I recommend dissecting most political conversations you have. Grab some paper, your computer, or a recording device and jot down some thoughts on…
- How the conversation started
- Why it happened
- Why it progressed the way it did
- Where it ended up
- And how everyone acted/behaved
Now…back to my conversation at work.
Donald Trump Rally
So this guy asked me about the recent Trump rally in Chicago and the riots that followed.
I told him that both sides are to blame for the riots, but Trump’s aggressive rhetoric is ultimately the culprit. You can’t play on people’s fears and anger and not expect tensions to increase (and eventually explode).
He agreed, offering up how Trump has connected with people’s pain points.
We both agreed that Trump is addressing the base fears that many Americans have (that cut across race, religion, class, & age).
He clarified that he’s no “Trumpite,” but that he understands where many Trump supporters are coming from.
The anger, fear, and violence that showed itself at the Trump rally scares him. I don’t blame him.
Racism in America
While discussing the issues that are fueling the rise of Trump, my coworker made a good point. He pointed out how political correctness has driven this awakening of racial tension.
“I used to be the minority in neighborhoods. I would get beat up and all that, but I never thought it was because of my race. I never thought, ‘Oh you beat me up because I’m white.’ I never thought that. Now, thanks to this political correctness, I can’t help but see those things as racist.”
We both lamented the racial state of our national mindset. Everything has become about race; which is ultimately becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The more you talk about how racist America is, the more likely Americans are to focus on race and fail to look past it.
I don’t appreciate how I focus on someone’s race. I don’t like how I treat someone because of their race.
It’s not that I’m racist, or have a history of it. It’s that I focus on it too much thanks to the obsession of race in America these days.
Who Are You Voting For?
At this point, three other coworkers joined in on the conversation.
The conversation pivoted to presidential candidates, with one of my coworkers proclaiming that he’s for “anybody but Hillary.” Later he mentioned he usually leans liberal.
Another coworker mentioned how our election system is a joke.
Coworker 1: “This nation will never change until we get past our two-party system, or a third party gets big enough to run.”
Coworker 2: “Yeah, our two party system has really screwed us up.”
The whole “lesser of two evils” argument was brought up, as well as issues revolving around presidents and their effects on American society.
The liberal-leaning guy was pretty chill until he said “All I’m saying is, f*** Hillary.” That surprised me a little.
I’m not a fan of proclaiming your dislike of a candidate in that way. Doesn’t accomplish anything, am I right?
Economics & Healthcare
You can’t bring up Hillary without mentioning Universal Healthcare.
The “liberal leaning” coworker said he thought our hospital system should be able to handle the demand that would result from such a system.
The coworker that started the whole conversation pointed out that he’s not against people getting covered. But punishing Americans for not having healthcare is wrong. We all agreed with his sentiments.
He and my entrepreneur-minded colleague proceeded to talk about another lady that works at Target. She had a 1,200 monthly premium (I think that’s the right number) because of the medication she needs. He went on to point out how hard she works so she can afford her medication. Medication she needs to stay alive.
Adding on to that, this guy brought up his own healthcare costs. Apparently his fee was raised after Obamacare. So now he doesn’t have healthcare at all. This was where emotions ran the highest. For the two guys that knew that woman, you could tell they knew the shit she had to go through.
How Constructive was it?
Despite the fact that there were five guys of varying viewpoints discussing hot topics, the conversation went along smoothly.
- Everyone kept their cool
- There was little to not arguing. Each person listened and addressed each other’s opinions
- Everyone was civil and respectful
- Views were expressed in a straightforward calm manner
- It was definitely a discussion
- It ended peacefully. Everyone going their own way
Conclusion: Learning More About the People Around You
I like learning more about my coworkers, and those around me in general.
This might seem unexpected, but politics is a good way to do that.
When you’re talking politics with someone you see the reactions, emotions, and reasoning they give for different issues.
And with that, you get a different perspective on who they are.
Getting to know those around you before you try to convert them to your viewpoint has been discussed here before. It’s required before you ever try to win them over.
First You build a relationship, then you convince them you’re right.
This workplace conversation gave me insight into who each of my coworkers are, how they think, and how they see the world.
This is one of my favorite aspects of face-to-face conversations; they’re a window into the soul. And it’s this window that will give you an advantage in communicating what real freedom looks like to your fellow Americans (and more importantly, your fellow human beings).
What are your thoughts on talking politics with coworkers? Got any good stories of how it went (good or bad)? Leave them in the comments below.