​ The Idiom: A Politically Neutral Proposal for Social Media

“Never discuss politics or religion at the dinner table,” so the saying goes. I spent a few minutes trying to track down the origin of this idiom without success. I did find several discussion boards where posters intimate that their mothers told them that. I’m left to assume this is a saying as old as these two institutions.

In case you haven’t noticed, people regularly ignore this idiom in the context of politics in two situations (I shall willfully ignore the “religion” part in this essay):

  1. In a meatspace social situation, when they assume their viewpoints match those of their present company; or
  2. on social media.

There is, however, a conundrum: Breaking this idiom consistently underscores the efficacy of it. Emotions, assumptions, and overconfidence lead to name calling, ridicule, career-ending bloviating, and even violence.

Why break the idiom at all, then?

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