When politics gets personal
Memorial Day gave me a chance to relax, reflect and drink a few cold ones. During my moments of alcohol induced nirvana, I realized I was in no state to think about politics. In fact, inspired by my very close French friend, Ive decided to go on strike! No politics for a week! No CNN, no MSNBC and just a little dose of the NY Times and WSJ Web sites.
What to do about my blog? Well, Im going to do what any good writer (and I am not claiming such a title) would do write a personal vignette tangentially related to politics.
Disclaimer: To whomever I may or may not be dating right now this story may or may not be true.
A couple months ago, not long after the Texas and Ohio primaries, I met a cute girl and decided to invite her out for a drink. The date was going great! She was interesting, fun and very smart. Then she popped the question: Who are you backing in the presidential election?
(continued) Now, one of the greatest things about living in New York is that one can go out and not have to talk about politics there are so many shared experiences to talk about in this great city that politics never has to come up. Politics, like abortion and religion, can spell d-e-a-t-h on a first date.
After letting the question process for what seemed like a minute, I fumbled over my words trying to come up with some Clintonian answer that would completely avoid the question yet make me sound intelligent. I started to say something like, I dont know, the race is really interesting. ... No matter who wins it will be historic. ... She wasnt going for it.
Does talking about politics make you uncomfortable?
Sheepishly, I blushed and said, Yes.
She continued to press me. Finally, I said, Well, Ive been a lifelong Libertarian-Republican, I did grow up in Texas after all, but I really like Obama right now.
Her response: Ohh, this could never work. Im a lifelong Democrat, my families run for office on the Democratic ticket, and I love Hillary. I bet you hate Hillary, dont you?!
I was totally astonished at the turn of events. This picture-perfect date was turning into a nightmare. I stayed cool and calm and said, No, I just think Hillary is really divisive and the country needs someone to rally around.
She wasnt buying it. I quickly got the check and we left shortly thereafter. I havent spoken to her since.
Politics are important, but when taken too seriously, they are as caustic as religion. Everyone has their own opinions informed by life experience, core values and family upbringing. To judge someone based solely on their political views, in most cases, is completely unwarranted. We should all step back, look at the divisiveness of the last two decades and make a pledge to see each other as Americans and just people first, supporters of candidates and ideologies second. Trust me: There are plenty of cool and interesting things to talk about besides politics.
And, who knows, you might find that you agree with your political enemies more often than not.