Talking Sense about Politics

How to Overcome Political Polarization in Your Next Conversation

Non-Fiction - Gov/Politics
274 Pages
Reviewed on 09/17/2017
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Jack Meacham is SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus at the University at Buffalo–The State University of New York. He earned degrees at Stanford University and the University of Michigan. A former Peace Corps volunteer and Fulbright scholar, Jack has been elected a Fellow in the American Psychological Association. He currently lives in Oregon.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Angie Gallion Lovell for Readers' Favorite

Jack Meacham’s Talking Sense About Politics: How to Overcome Political Polarization in Your Next Conversation is an enlightening journey though American history to the present in an effort to help the reader find a little "perspective." Meacham utilizes historical characters to demonstrate the four “American Perspectives,” that he discusses in his book. His premise is that we are not right vs. left, we are not conservative vs. liberal, we are not Republican vs. Democrat. Instead, we are a compilation of these four American Perspectives: Loyal, Tactful, Detached, and Caring. Once he has outlined his perspectives, he then moves into the meat of the book, demonstrating techniques to have fruitful conversations with any person bearing any of the above perspectives. Talking Sense about Politics is about reading people, relearning how to listen to people who hold different opinions and beliefs, and knowing how to effectively communicate with them in a manner that will not cause a family feud.

I found Jack Meacham’s Talking Sense about Politics: How to Overcome Political Polarization refreshing. It is timely in the current, high tension political environment. Every person who is paying attention and is aware of politics has undoubtedly been confronted with an uncomfortable situation when politics has arisen in a conversation. Meacham reminds us that we must relearn the art of debate, we must discard the labels and judgements that segment us. Meacham does a fine job of reminding us that spouting our own beliefs without allowing others to participate in the dialogue is not a conversation. He cautions us against making assumptions and rightly states that very few people fall in a straight line with any political party. By the time I finished his book, I didn’t know what Meacham believed politically, I don’t know who he voted for in the last election or how he feels about any number of hot button issues. What I do know is that he respects discourse, and that he has a very solid grasp on human nature. I know many people who could benefit from some time spent contemplating Meacham’s Talking Sense about Politics.

Faridah Nassozi

Politics is a very sensitive topic yet it is one that cannot be avoided as it directly impacts all the critical aspects of society. Whatever important topic you want to discuss, be it the economy, healthcare, unemployment, education, foreign policy, global warming and many others, somehow you will end up talking politics. It does not matter whether you are talking to family, friends, business associates or strangers. There is simply no getting away from it. Unfortunately, because of diverse views and beliefs, it is almost impossible to have an amicable conversation. As a solution, albeit not a good one, many people are choosing to stay away from political conversations. Everyone needs to be involved; after all these are topics that cut across the board. In his book titled Talking Sense about Politics - How to Overcome Political Polarization in Your Next Conversation, Jack Meacham offers guidance on how to have better political conversations with people from different sides, different belief systems, and different backgrounds.

Talking Sense about Politics - How to Overcome Political Polarization in Your Next Conversation by Jack Meacham is a very detailed, very compelling and very practical read. We can all use some polishing up on how to have productive political dialogue in different situations, and that is exactly what Jack Meacham delivers. The concept that for America there are four different perspectives and about sixteen possible dialogues that can be had on every issue speaks to the diversity that needs to be recognized in every conversation if you want to keep everyone involved. This way people from different demographics can come together to discuss important issues, and do so amicably and constructively. Whether you are a politician, a motivational speaker, a leader of any kind, a teacher or an ordinary citizen at a dinner table, you will find this book useful in navigating the messy and delicate path of political conversation.