Thomas Brown
Student of politics and history. Enjoying the circus before the tent burns down. Founder of Practicing Politics —

But if you want BLM to succeed, you need to.

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Photo by Shane Aldendorff from Pexels

It makes sense. In a movement focused on bringing to light the experiences of marginalized groups, why would you focus on the demographic who has benefited the most from the very systems that caused this marginalization in the first place?

Well, because in important ways they haven’t. Or, at least, they feel like they haven’t.

If you want to gain a new perspective on why so many Americans still cannot get on board with BLM and refuse to dismount the Trump bandwagon, then I urge you to keep reading.

In a time of so much political frustration, conflict, and agitation, it is essential that we find an eye to this storm: a place of understanding so that we can get a genuine sense of the problems that we face. Denying the storm exists, or rather blaming the origin of the storm on ‘X group’, does little in terms of helping us find shelter from its wrath. To do this, we have to understand the storm from different perspectives. …

Because until now, they have been counting on us to leave them alone

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Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been under the spotlight recently, receiving both support and backlash following their decisions to ban or moderate content posted by former President Donald Trump. As with seemingly every other news item that makes headlines these days, this debate has evolved to encompass a much deeper issue. Having now outgrown its initial context, the debate poses a relatively simple question:

Should we be regulating social media platforms?

While this question has strong arguments on both sides, personally, I know where I stand: yes. If you ask me where I lie on pretty much any other freedom of speech issue, I would almost always err on the side of protecting free expression. However, on the issue of social media, we aren’t just talking about freedom of speech, we are talking about intentionally designed platforms. …

‘How’ and ‘why’ you should contribute to this publication!

Article summary:

  1. What Practicing Politics is — a publication that talks about how we engage in politics at all levels, as well as solutions for how to do so more effectively.
  2. What content we accept — anything nonpartisan that relates to political engagement and political culture.
  3. How to contribute — email me directly at with a small bio and article draft, you can then be added as a writer and submit directly to the publication.

What is Practicing Politics?

If the last year has shown us anything, it’s that we need to take a long, hard look at the way we practice our politics. The adversarial, aggresive, winner-takes-all nature of our current political culture not only creates division and polarization, but allows the many legitimate issues we face as a society to go unaddressed. …

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Photo by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash

With everything going on in American politics at the moment, US foreign affairs have received an unprecedently low level of attention in the media. Usually, comments on the Chinese trade-war, Russian election interference, and Middle Eastern conflicts are prevailing themes in news headlines. Over the past month? Little to nothing.

But that doesn’t mean the world has ceased to exist, and neither has the fairly legitimate threat that America’s enemies pose gone away either — quite the contrary. The World, along with every American citizen, will be watching today as rioters storm Capitol Hill in Washington DC. Importantly, they will witness what everyone else should be seeing as well. …

These two answers could explain the current rise in support for anti-democratic behaviour

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Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Is democracy about having your say or getting your way?

It is often taken for granted in the West that democracy is one of our guiding principles, yet what that means is rarely publically discussed. Since the beginning of Trump’s 4-year term, and over the last few months, in particular, we have been inundated with news coverage of his troubling ‘anti-democratic’ behaviour. On the flip side, many pro-Trump media outlets have been directing similar critiques towards the Democrats as well, largely over their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and their supposed benefit of wide-spread voter fraud.

In both cases, the base assumption is that democracy is good and, therefore, something which is anti-democratic is bad. Simple enough, right? Well no, not if we have different understandings of what that term means. …

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Photo by Aliyah Jamous on Unsplash

Why it’s so important you understand the connection between the way you feel and the way you think

Although emotions guide us all, we rarely trust them in others, particularly when we think they are trying to misguide us.

In a 2015 article for the Guardian, writer Eyal Winter shares a story about his Great Uncle Walter, a Jewish man living in Nazi Germany:

One night in 1933, Walter returned home petrified of what he had just experienced. While walking through town, he had come across a Nazi rally and out of interest took the risk of entering the crowd. As he walked in deeper and the Nazi national anthem began to play, he found himself slowly beginning to join in; although hesitant at first, as time goes on his singing becomes louder and louder. So enthralled was he with the experience, that at the finale of the song Walter even began to yell “Sieg Heil!” …

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Photo by Andrej Lišakov on Unsplash

Once you start admitting you were wrong more often, it becomes nearly impossible to actually ‘be’ wrong at all

I spend a lot of time thinking about how I talk. Especially when it comes to politics, I try as much as possible to be conscious of both what and how I share my ideas. Part of this comes from a genuine personal interest in the subject, part of this probably comes from the anxiety of being caught saying something ridiculous.

If you are at all the same, you’ll know where I am coming from…

And if you spend any amount of time talking about this with your friends, or just watching the speech mannerisms of others, it becomes immediately clear that there are as many different approaches to speech as there are people; in fact, likely more, as many of us will adjust our speech according to the situation we’re in. …

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Photo by Headway on Unsplash

Even when you aren’t ‘negotiating’, these techniques can help you navigate any difficult conversation

Political dialogue can often feel like a negotiation — with each side trying to put forward why their view makes the most sense. However, way more often than not, there is no ‘final solution’ to these discussions. People aren’t like to fundamentally change in one conversation, and unless you are sat in Parliament or the Oval Office, the ideas being shared likely won’t have an immediate impact on the rest of society.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t important!

It is these conversations that over time will shape the way we relate to different issues and — perhaps more importantly — each other. …

From boys on a playground to soldiers on the battlefield, these interactions serve a deeper purpose

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(Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash)

My friend group enjoys playing cards. To raise the stakes, we usually impose a forfeit for the loser. Money quickly loses its appeal, so these forfeits almost always end up being something physical.

The other weekend, after a particularly long game of Black Ball, a loser was declared and the winner picked the punishment: each of the other 7 players would slap the loser on the ass. …

…But there is such a thing as a bad joke.

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Image by Rob Slaven from Pixabay

On the show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, British comic Ricky Gervais shares one of his favourite jokes with host of the show, Jerry Seinfeld. Since hearing it, this joke has also become one of my favourites, given its brevity and punch.

It goes like this:

“A Holocaust survivor eventually dies of old age, goes to Heaven, and meets God. And once there, he tells God a Holocaust joke.

God goes: ‘that’s not funny’

And [the man] says: ‘Ah well, I guess you had to be there.’”

How many buttons does a joke like this push?

It’s content alone — the Holocaust — is a taboo subject even on the most underground of comedic circuits. However, properly executed, this joke manages to not only reference the Jewish genocide, but also bring forward a powerful philosophical question regarding it: if God is real, where was he and why did he do nothing to stop the killing?

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