Discussing Politics Revamped and Served with Pie
Over time the interest in politics has been declining, meanwhile we have never had more access to information or have been so informed about the politicians and representatives locally or internationally. In America, Donald Trump was voted into office and the impact his presidency has had has caused people to get heavily involved in discussing politics. Enter MADA, Making America Dinner Again, a movement to encourage people to get involved in politics in a safe environment. Created by Justine Lee and Tria Chang, they encourage small dinner parties consisting of six to eight people, keeping it preferably even. They suggest that the host takes time to get guests with differentiating opinions and to reach out to established groups to create a list of follow ups in case of cancellation. The idea is to allow different sides to express their opinions and defend their points while creating a safe space to encourage people to be open and honest about how they feel and what they believe. They have created a full step by step guide for those interested in hosting.
I believe this is a brilliant tactic to engage the community into enjoying the act of debating their viewpoints, but also in creating informed opinions. The current political climates in our university, our town, our province and our country are rising. StFX is dealing with the discontent of their student body on management of sexual assault. Antigonish and neighbouring areas are rising against Randy Delorey over the growing concerns to changes made in Healthcare. Nova Scotia faces a growing migration issue from small communities to urban centres for employment, and a lack of attention from the federal government. Canada’s federal government is under scrutiny for its green policies and the Trans Canada Pipeline amongst other issues. There is a problem that the issues aren’t being discussed and are not as heavily advertised as the Trump administration. More people need to be informed of the current events that happens at home in their community on top of the international community.
By implementing the idea of these dinner parties, but perhaps under something more relevant to Canadian politics, we could encourage people to get involved in local politics. Discussing matters relevant to them and staying informed on current events within the community. The creators of this movement have made it simple to create your own; from including options to cover costs, to offering suggestions for locations if you’re uncomfortable hosting it on your own. The evening breaks down into activities, topic selection, discussions and more to encourage a fun environment. Rules are implemented, such as a safe word, in case the conversation becomes too heated.
Eating has a long history of bringing people together, and in a campus environment it can become even easier using meal hall if you have a plan. As social creatures, this interaction helps people to deter the growing trend of isolation. We do not have to agree to build a community, but if we can communicate, express ourselves clearly and defend why we think that way, we become that much stronger. With the different societies and social media groups, finding people with different opinions is simplified. The biggest challenge of this activity is patience and respect, something we often take for granted even in ourselves. Separating a person from their opinions or actions can sometimes be difficult, if not impossible. Knowing the boundaries in a discussion and being able to come together afterwards and recognize that a person is more than their beliefs on a specific issue is what is vital in building healthy opinions and relationships.