Let’s not let politics tear us apart, OK? Seven talking points on family and politics.
To pull back the shade on my personal life a tad: Despite going out of my way to not touch the issue, politics has become so heated amongst family and friends that I’ve had to cut some people off entirely … at least until Wednesday. (I’ve had to block people from calling/texting my phone. It was that bad.) No matter who wins, my relationship shouldn’t change with these people. I blog about politics a lot, but when it comes to my friends and family, I would rather know about how their lives are going.
I was discussing this issue with some good friends last night, and how much it was stressing me out, because I don’t want to argue with people I really care about regarding politics. They mentioned hearing a report on NPR about this very issue, and how it was tearing apart families. This is wrong. And I want to help.
So in an effort to own the issue, I came up with some talking points. If someone is disowning you over your political views, use these:
- one There is room for conservatives and liberals to sit at the same table and talk about the upcoming season of Arrested Development. Or your kids. Or the fact that they just took Buckyballs off the market. Or your job. Or anything other than politics.
- two Being a Barack Obama supporter — or even an implied one — doesn’t make you a socialist. You’re allowed to have your opinion.
- three Being a Mitt Romney supporter — or even an implied one — doesn’t automatically make you a jerk who doesn’t care about people. You’re allowed to have your opinion, too.
- four Votes don’t work like line-item vetoes, so you’re allowed to vote for someone even if you disagree with their marijuana policy, their foreign policy, their gay-rights policy, or their stance on abortion. It does not make you a terrible person that you vote for someone based on 51 percent of what they represent — nor should you be treated like you support 100 percent of their policy.
- six Rush Limbaugh hasn’t been there for birthdays, weddings or graduations. You may share many of Rachel Maddow’s views, but you’ve never shared any good memories with Rachel unless you’re a good friend of hers. That person you’re disowning over their political views? They’ve totally been there for you, and you’re not giving them enough credit.
- seven If you can’t handle the idea that a strong relationship shouldn’t be affected by your politics, don’t expect people to be in any rush to deal with you. That includes on Facebook and Twitter.
When someone close to you asks who you’re voting for on Tuesday and you don’t want to talk politics, I recommend this answer: “I’m voting for Vermin Supreme.” SHUT. IT. DOWN.
- Ernie @ ShortFormBlog
P.S.: Just to make this clear — this is purely in regards to political stances, not social issues which may directly affect family members, such as gay rights.
Well said, Ernie. I agree completely. Even if someone discusses politics with me, I’ll happily share my thoughts, but I don’t expect to either convince or repulse them.