When did politics become as taboo to discuss, as religion?

So the budget has totally got people worked up. And I think it should.
The Government has handed down a harsh budget and while it may at some point have a positive effect on Federal debt, will absolutely crush the general population of Australia while doing so. As everyone knows, the release of a budget, an election or a scandal involving a politician always brings politicking into general conversation. Diagrams and videos are made, GIFs run wild and Facebook practically breaks.

budget discussion

Now, I am the first to put my hand up and say that I’m not overly knowledgeable about politics. I have a basic understanding and a growing interest.

As my interest and knowledge grows, it becomes a subject I am increasingly interested in discussing. Apparently this is a no go.

At the pub a few weeks ago, just before the second round of voting for the WA Senate, I got into a conversation with a friend and their friend while having a drink before dinner. Just to be clear, I need you to know that I bought it up, my hands are in the air, it was me. I was excited to be able to vote for the first time and I didn’t think of the implications of bringing such a dividing topic to the table.

The beginning of the conversation went a little something like this.

Me “I’m so excited to vote next week
Friend of Friend (FoF) “Who will you vote for?
Me “It’s a toss-up between Scott Ludlam and Louise Pratt
FoF “What?! Greens, Crap. What about the economy?! Labour. Urght. What about the economy?!”.

The second I’d said it, I regretted it. And why is that? Why can’t two people discuss differences in opinion? The conversation got more and more heated, I was getting emotional and it was a disaster. We “debated” asylum seeker policy, same sex marriage, education; there was a big human rights focus. Afterwards, we went to dinner, it was completely awkward and I left unsure as to sure whether I ever wanted to see that person again.

What struck me is that it wasn’t his beliefs that upset me; it was the complete unwillingness to see if from any point of view other than his. His stance was harsh and he was unforgiving. I don’t think there was anything I could have said that were against his morals, or that made him question my ethics. Why can’t people talk about their beliefs without being offensive?

Everyone knows that religion is a touchy topic to bring up. It can split countries so bringing it up at the dinner table after a few too many bottles of Shiraz is probably a bad idea. When did we get to this point with politics? Why is how the country is run or the people running it a topic that should be avoided? I understand that many of the issues are highly contentious but why do we have to take such an issue with a person because of their believes. Economics, human rights,  and the social fabric of society are all important issues and as intellectuals, one would assume that people would be able to put their differences aside after a conversation and carry on. Friends, family, and couples argue about things all of time and I struggle with the idea that discussing Western politics is any different.

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