There are two topics that will stir up a group of people until they are practically a raging mob. Those two topics are: religion and politics. And maybe football. But this post is about politics.
There is nothing like an election or just a political conversation to get everyone steamed up and hating each other. I am noticing this on some blogs lately.
I remember my political science class and how tense it got sometimes. A lot of the time our teacher would ask us to split into groups of 3 or 4 and discuss a controversial issue like abortion or physician assisted suicide, etc., and each of the groups had to come to an agreement about how we felt on that issue. Then each group was supposed to tell the teacher whether they were for it or against it without telling why they felt that way or speaking to the other groups in the room. Just tell him whether you were for or against.
I think the idea was to show us how it was really hard to make everyone agree on one thing. I learned that that is very true and sometimes you just can't make everyone agree and someone just has to swallow it, or move to a different group. Even when there are just 3 or 4 people in a group you probably won't be able to make everyone agree on one thing all the time.
Something else I found out: just because you are 'republican' does not mean you are pro-life or for the right to own arms or any thing else that republicans were generally thought to be representatives of. The same is true of those who are democrat. I was very surprised at how many of the people in the room said they were democrat but were all very pro-life and thought President Bush was great. And they were anti-homosexual (mostly it was guys, I found that the girl democrats were a little more liberal) too and supported the right to own arms. I think they were really republicans, but didn't know it yet. It was interesting. It probably goes back to the original idea that you can't make everyone in one group agree on the same thing.
Another thing that we found true was that no one could just tell the teacher what they thought. Before the class was over, everyone (except the teacher who was probably reading the newspaper or something) was talking and a quite a few were yelling at each other and at other groups in the room. Before class had started we were all getting along and talking amiably. At one point, however, during the class I thought none of us were ever going to talk to each other again. People were that mad. Then class ended and we all walked out and started talking to each other about casual friendly things. Much to my surprise, we all even ended the semester on friendly terms.
I think I learned more about how people interact during this class than I ever did about politics. It was a good experience. Definitely an interesting one. It will be very interesting to see how this election plays out. I do enjoy an interesting election.