Tuesday, October 14, 2008

While you're at it, what do you think of the Girl Scouts?

No less than 3 times yesterday I caught myself thinking that I can’t wait until the election is over and all of this tension over different opinions can go away. Yeah, yeah, I know you are sick to death of me talking politics here. Unfortunately for you this is MY blog, and the only place I speak completely unmuzzled. It’s therapeutic, and my mental health is important to me, I’m selfish like that. Come back the middle of November, I should be settled down by then.

Also, apologies in advance, this is long, it got away from me. Oops!!

Anyway, like I was saying. …After biting my tongue for the 17th time, it occurred to me (I’m a little slow) that just because the election passes and we stop talking about issues all day, doesn’t mean suddenly we will all live in harmony. In fact, in my case anyway, my eyes have been opened to just how many people in my life I fundamentally disagree with.

Most of them I knew didn’t see things as clearly and rightly as I do (I’m JUST KIDDING!!), but there are a few who are (in my expert opinion) just narrow minded and wrong. --Still kidding (kind of). I’m going to see these people just as often after the election, only now I see them differently, and they me.

The worst is my husband, you know, because we live together. I feel like we are at opposite ends of so many things. He is very conservative and I am pretty moderate, with some liberal leanings. We both tend to be passionate about our beliefs, but we express our passion in very different ways. I like to haul out the facts and try to sway you to my side in a “playful” debating manner. My husband likes to state his opinions as common sense and the “right thing” and dare you to spew that lefty propaganda at him, lest you force him to explain why he thinks you are such an idiot while he makes that face where his forehead gets all wrinkled up. Sometimes I say something like “Maybe you’re right, I should put a little more thought into that.” Just so he will smooth out his face. I don’t want him to get a cramp between the eyes. Can you imagine how that would feel?

Last week I was at lunch with a friend and we were talking about a mutual acquaintance (NO, we were not gossiping and I don’t think I like your tone) anyway, we were discussing some of the personality traits of this person (for clinical purposes) and my friend said “Do you think she even knows who she really is?” At the time I thought, and said, that if you live and act a certain way for so long, you become that, thereby having that phony self become your real self.

Are you still with me?

Well, I have been living the life a fairly conservative person. I’ve been busy being a mom. The last time there was a general election our youngest was four years old. It’s been that way for the last 17 years (I don't mean she's been four years old for 17 years, I mean, I've had young children or babies for 17 years, keep up.). My biggest priorities have been diaper changing and getting small people to eat enough green vegetables, while thoughts of politics and foreign policies may have crossed my mind, I just didn’t have a lot of time to spend on them. Mind you, I realize that being busy is no excuse for burying my head in the sand, it honestly wasn’t intentional, some things were at the top of the list and others were farther down, a few I didn’t get to at all.

If we use the argument I used about becoming the person you pretend to be I would be someone else. I haven’t been “pretending” exactly, I have just been hanging out with other mothers and our conversations centered on dinner menus, our callings, and who is the best 3rd grade teacher at the local elementary school. Most of those mothers, I am finding out, don’t share my views on lots of things. It turns out, current events aren’t such a hot topic at Park Day.

So what I’m saying is, I’ve always been this liberalish person (just ask Mr. Campbell my AP English teacher) but I guess that side of me has been lying dormant. I didn’t become June Cleaver just because I was leading her life. I have opinions; anyone who knows me will tell you I have opinions, lots of them. I just haven’t felt a need to drag them out and show them off, and now that I have time to use my brain, when these topics are raised I don’t have to do much soul searching; I just have a feeling in my gut which is the right way to go. Which must be how my husband feels, only our guts send us in different directions.

Tell me, please, do you and your husband agree on all things political? And if not, how do you handle it? What about your friends, are you all on the same page? Are you a debater or a peacemaker? Or a peaceful debater? Do you discuss these things at all? Is this too many questions? Humor me, it’s Tuesday, what else do you have to do?


cjc said...

Love it! My guy and I agree on most things, but not all. Sometimes I just shut up and let him speak his piece without contradicting him. But I'm a conciliator by nature.

You might check out this link when you have time:
http://www.salon.com/feb97/carville970212.html I've always thought that James Carville and Mary Matalin were the world's most Odd Couple, and this article from 1997 talks a little about how they do it!


Ward and June said...

Where should I begin? First I am rather busy, or rather should be very busy. I have cooking, cleaning and caring for others to be doing but nap time is among us and here I am.

Some of my friends (OK, one) really sees my side on religion and politics and we discuss openly and freely and even when we don't agree we are open to listening. But recently I am realizing the same, just how many of the people I know and hang out with differ so much on their religion and political beliefs, it doesn't usually cause any problems but sometimes I want to say something like "Hey, can we talk and really listen to each other because I want to know why you really think the way that you do, if we are going to disagree then we should at least know why we do." But I am a big silent baby and think far more than I say.

Last month at Bunko someone started saying how much they really liked Palin and someone said something to the opposite effect and in two minutes it was obvious an invisible line had been drawn between the reds and blues and there was an uncomfortable silence.

And I forgot the rest, darn it.

Oh that's right my spouse and I agree enough (which I think it important, not to agree on everything but the important stuff and i guess we all have to decide what the important stuff is) and where we don't agree we can usually find common ground. Sometimes though we just can't agree and that can get pretty heated and I am not much of a debater so then I feel stupid without it even being said and I feel like taking a debate class or something because I just know I am right and I want to be able to explain that to him.

Blogger delete this the first time I wrote it so I think that is most of what I wanted to say.

Becky said...

My husband and I have different ideas. I've decided to do a write in (because after I made that decision, I stopped feeling so depressed about all things political), and the hubby will be voting for Obama. He's afraid I'm wasting my vote, but it's not really a point of contention.

I do, however, have a friend who thinks that anyone voting for Obama is a big, fat idiot. I didn't really want to have a throw down, but I asked her what it was that made her decision. She couldn't tell me. The main point I got was that because McCain is Republican, she'll be voting for him.

I have a hard time when people aren't quite sure why they're voting for a person. I guess I'm a peaceful debater, but how do you debate someone who has no real points to make? So I just let her have her opinion and I'll keep mine.

I've sort of stopped bringing it up because it tends to make everyone involved feel on edge and defensive. Does that make me a coward?

And by the way, I love the Girl Scouts. I wash they'd swing by with some thin mints.

Becky said...

Uh, that's supposed to be wish, not wash... but if you were voting for the right person, you'd be smart enough to know that, now wouldn't you? ;)

Ward and June said...

You all sound like a bunch of crazy LIBS! I'm just kidding, I like to get started on a light note is all.

I hate it when people argue passionately about an issue, but have no reason for their view other than "I'm right, you're wrong." If you can't tell me why you think I'm wrong then the conversation isn't worth having. It seems like more and more people are getting more closed minded to opposing ideas. Are we un-evolving intellectually or something?

I tend to hold some views that alot of people tend to disagree with, but I am willing to discuss my beliefs with anyone who is willing to listen as much as they talk. I don't want to pick on Conservatives, but in my experience they tend to be less open to debate than liberals.

I think that you can hold meaningful relationships with people who have differing opinions, as long as everyone is willing to be polite and try to understand each others views. But everyone should be able to explain their views. I'm not saying you should have to prove whatever you have faith in, but tell me why you have faith in it.

Anyway, I think everyone here seems to be on the same page about listening to others, why can't we all just get along?

And don't get me started on the GIRL SCOUTS.


The Crash Test Dummy said...

That's too many questions for me (right now) because I have 6 more essays to grade before 11am (plus I gotta do my hair) and I shouldn't be here reading your blog.

but yes, yes, and yes.

And I'll be back later, so put some (herbal) tea on simmer.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

So I think I know who you are voting for! LOL! But I'm completely opposite...i always felt I was a liberal and just recently feel more conservative...with kids and things! Great post!

To be honest my husband doesn't care...but if we were fighting about something else...he does the same as your husband! lol!

wesley's mom said...

cjc-loved the link, I don't think my husband and I are as far opposite as James Carville and Mary Matlin, so that's a plus right there.

Alexia-I feel like I am always the one who has the opposing view and divides the room. That's why I try to be quiet at gatherings like book group and family bbqs (also, around here it's usually lonely on my side of the line).

Becky-I can't stand the "voting the party not the candidate" stance. People wanting to argue, but not really having any information to argue with is keeping me pretty quiet these days too. Not that I want to argue, but I am open to a discussion IF it's rational. I don't think you are a coward, I guess because then I'd be one too. And I second the GS and their cookies, though I have to give my vote to the Samoas. MMMM!

Todd-Um, you know how I hate to argue, especially with you, but un-evolving is NOT a word. I think you meant -devolving. You might be on to something though, I can't tell you how many people I personally know who get their "news" from talk radio or Bill (barf) O'Reilly. Two VERY reliable sources. Some people aren't able to speak specifically about the issues, they just have a bunch of sound bites to toss around.

ps-what do you have against the girl scouts?

The Crash Test Dummy said...

This is my favorite part:

If we use the argument I used about becoming the person you pretend to be I would be someone else. I haven’t been “pretending” exactly, I have just been hanging out with other mothers and our conversations centered on dinner menus, our callings, and who is the best 3rd grade teacher at the local elementary school. Most of those mothers, I am finding out, don’t share my views on lots of things. It turns out, current events aren’t such a hot topic at Park Day.

You nailed it.

My husband and I see eye to eye politically and religiously thank goodness. Our confrontations come from $$$ and TONE OF VOICE!

But I have several friends and co-workers who have the opposite views and I tend to shy away from confrontations. Sometimes because I tend to feel like I must be uninformed or crazy. But mostly because it always leads to bad feelings and is it worth bad feelings? People get so emotional about politics and religion.

I do think it's best to raise your voice in your own way. A sweet unassuming way.