Three things not to talk about with your friends: money, religion, and politics. Three of the most present and influential entities in our society, and yet we avoid them like the plague. The one topic that should be discussed by the students in Youth in Government is politics. It’s seemingly an open subject, but there are still restrictions on the conversation of politics. While the intent of these restrictions is understandable in the fact that they are meant to prevent disrespect or dispute, in my mind there is no better group of individuals to talk about our values and beliefs than those in YIG. We are people interested in government, possibly hoping to work as politicians in the future; so, we need to learn how to handle others’ varying opinions and principles. If we continue to ignore the fact that we don’t all think alike, we will never be able to work together when these politically controversial subjects come up. Disagreeing with people and being able to collaborate in a civil manner is a skill that we as young people should be learning. The social and political divides in our country have grown strong, but the solution is not to shun dialogue on debatable topics. I believe that the best way to move forward—as delegates, friends, and citizens—is to face the hard conversations head on, respectfully share our thoughts, and most importantly, truly listen to the opposite opinion.
So over the weekend, I encourage you to listen and consider someone’s arguments that don’t coincide with yours. I encourage you to think about how you can connect with someone with completely different views than your own. And finally, I encourage you to be even more open-minded, accepting, and supportive than you have ever been.