questionswhy do political discussions get so heated?

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Politics is just like religion. No matter what your point of view, there will always be someone that disagrees with you.

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@cengland0: I agree with this, but it's not just about a disagreement. Religion and politics are possibly the two most heated topics of conversation.

But why? There's plenty of topics in which people don't on a regular basis get heated about, so why these topics? Is it passion? Is it something people feel the need to fight for? I know some people who will actually debate these topics without getting heated, but that's just not the norm...

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Some people like to have their ideas or thoughts confirmed by the agreement of those around them. You've heard the term "Birds of a feather flock together" I presume...

Watch MSNBC for half an hour - most of the opinions will be along the same lines. Then watch Fox News for half an hour - again you'll see mostly agreement. When someone differs from the conventional wisdom they get hammered by the rest of the pundits, no matter which channel you're watching.

When everybody thinks alike, some people feel like they have value and belong. For those people, having a differing opinion expressed comes as a personal attack and evokes a corresponding response. I have a cousin who will go on for hours about his opinion on the state of things in general, but when I challenge him with valid arguments from the other side of the fence he simply walks away from me instead of trying to converse. I won't substantiate his positions and he can't bear the feeling of rejection.

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I think that politics, as well as religion, revolve around morals and values that people have, something people don't always think logically about. If your morals differ from someone on a significantly important level, then there's nothing you can say or do to change their minds. That's why, no matter what you say, you'll never be able to convince someone who believes that being gay means you're a sinner that the person in question was born that way. Even if science could find a "gay gene" that showed up in 100% of all the gay population and 0% of the straight population, there would be people who claim that it's a choice up to that individual and that science is wrong.

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[Cont...] The same theory applies to politics and religion. Someone may believe that all republicans want is to help the country and democrats are out to destroy it and vice versa. When someone decides to voice an opinion that conflicts with their opinion/morals/beliefs, then they take it as an insult and will defend their opinion that "Obama is evil and Rush Limbaugh is America's savior" no matter how much evidence you could provide.

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From my conversations with people, it seems more heated when the person you're discussing it with is stuck in their ways and will not budge even if you prove their position to be wrong.

Here are some topics I don't like to discuss:

Abortion, Religion, Politics, Immigration, Race, Welfare, Smoking, Death penalty

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@cengland0: Yeah, the race topic is another one I don't like. I hate my fear of offending someone because they took something the wrong way and then being labeled a "racist". I know I'm not racist, I don't need someone freaking out and telling me that I am.

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No matter how hard you try you cant please everyone. That's a fact of life. Nuf said.

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Cause I'm right and everyone else is a stinky poopie head.

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Well said @captainsuperdawg:

Additionally, Religion & Politics are very polarizing subjects...
You are either for or against and anyone in the middle is hated by both sides...

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@hobbitss: I hope you appreciate the irony (I think it's irony, it could be something else) of when I say "Amen to that brother/sister/variation thereof!"

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Because for all political issues including, gun control, taxes, creating jobs, gov't deficit, etc.. every action that can be taken to fix one, will somehow affect another issue negatively. For instance spending money to create jobs will be bad on deficit and upset people. But also raising taxes to reduce the deficit will make those same people angry. It's a no win scenario for all parties.

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The root cause is that anger is a reaction to having a belief questioned that they fully believe, but can't defend.

Thomas Sowell got it quite right in 'Conflict of Visions' and 'Quest for Cosmic Justice'

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@captainsuperdawg: You left out the Undecided category...
Not going to win any PC points that way... :-)