Recently I found out how difficult it is to convince a person change his/her mind about his/her political viewpoint. Discussing politics can not only be severe to the person’s natural values but it also entails many features of character which are usually hidden by the mask of politeness and good manners. Some political discussions and arguments end in spoilt relationships of those arguing, and at times, they cover very personal issues which usually do not lay on the surface of one’s everyday communication.
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One of these arguments happened to me not very long ago when I suddenly raised an issue of death penalty with my friend. He is a representative of a conservative American family, and he truly believes that everyone should follow true democratic values of our modern American society. However, he did not support his point of view with facts and reasonable arguments. Instead, he only called me wild and inhumane, and I had to protect myself with the clarifications of death penalty necessity in certain situations.
I do believe that death penalty is needed in those cases when a human really deserves his life to be taken in a form of a punishment. Those people who kill other people deliberately should be punished. And, as normal citizens, we should not be the ones who really have to pay taxes to earn these killers some more years of living. Simple calculations which I provided to my friend who was arguing with me did not help. My friend was still firm on his position that death penalty is an unacceptable measure of punishment.
As the argument evolved, I started looking at my friend in a different way. I suddenly saw his family telling him about the importance of democracy in the United States, and I suddenly saw his future actions helping the development of this democracy. In my opinion, death penalty has nothing to do with democracy. And I took effort to explain that to my friend. But he refused to listen. In my opinion, he was so sure of him being always right that he simply missed the majority of my arguments. My friend did not take seriously what I had said.
Moreover, he started opening his true personality to me. In my opinion, during this argument, I was punished. Not only was the issue a punishment for me as I felt myself unconfident in the subject, but the argument itself and the outcomes became a punishment. This would never be a win-win situation. Political arguments lead to the creation of more topics for discussion and thus can hardly be ended (Goodwin).
The subject itself is a complex issue which has been raised as an issue for political campaign many times. However, the right solution has not been found yet, and this makes death penalty such a popular topic for discussion. Bedau argues that ‘the history of the death penalty in America can be usefully if roughly divided into six epochs of very uneven duration and importance’ (3). All these epochs represent the complexity and vividness of the issue in the modern society.
As a result, I felt completely disappointed after the argument. When I returned to the argument in my mind and analyzed what has been just said, I realized that I probably have lost my friend, and we would never be able to be as close as before. The complexity of the arguments about various political issues lies in the fact that the majority of these issues tend to uncover our personality (Ikeda). If we support or reject certain issues, we showcase ourselves. Political issues are general in nature but, at the same time, personal in the way people understand and interpret them. During our argument, my friend interpreted the issue in the wrong way and even demonstrated ignorance towards my opinion and all those arguments which I had provided during the course of conversation. Therefore, I am sure I had a really severe punishment by raising those complex political issues in my personal relationship.
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