“So, what do you think of -fill in the blank with the name of the current President.” I do not like that question. I have discovered that there is usually a hidden agenda behind the querent. Since we have only had male presidents, the following thoughts run through my mind: as a father? as a man? as a husband? as a person? as a political ally? As soon as we vote in a female, the same questions will process through, only in reference to mother, wife…
If someone is interested in how I feel about a certain bill being debated on the hill, why not ask that? If someone is interested in how I feel about the current political structure of the USA, why not ask that? Asking how I feel about a person without a specific inquiry makes me feel setup.
It is difficult to imagine a relationship where I am in 100% agreement with another. The same holds true in a political leader. It is not a question if I like someone or not. I can like someone yet disagree with a particular position.
Perhaps my best answer would be, “Yes, I like most people, but that doesn’t mean I always agree with them.” People do not have to agree with me for me to like them. Maybe that is our problem in America. People don’t like people who disagree with them. I believe that is a great hindrance to communication. I think that leads to polarization.
A professor, William Braniff, at the University of Maryland has proposed that such behavior can lead to extreme positions. In fact he goes on to suggest that polarization is the first step to becoming a violent extremist. He proposes that a person is first polarized, then radicalized, and then activated. Pretty scary. No wonder I don’t like that question.