Yes Dear, I Value Your Political Opinions
My wife’s stubborn political opinions took me completely by surprise. We had never spent much time discussing such things before we were married. It didn’t seem important. Then one day I innocently made a comment about a former Republican President. “It wasn’t even that derogatory of a comment.” But as a result I found myself berated and lectured about the failures of previous Democratic Presidents. What should have been a lighthearted debate soon resulted in raised voices and something very close to anger. “I didn’t even dredge up Nixon and his faults.”
It didn’t take long after that first political argument to see that we had an issue. It wasn’t huge like being different religions might have been but it was a problem. Silly things like laughing at the latest joke about the republican vice presidential candidate or a comment about the attributes of the Democratic Presidential candidate would start all new heated arguments. She asked more than once, “How can you be so smart and have such screwed up political positions?” The funny thing was that I felt the same way about her opinions. How could this wonderful and intelligent woman be so stubborn? Why was she so politically brainwashed?
As election time grew closer we decided that our votes would only cancel each others out. We made a deal that neither of us would vote. I was fine with that decision since I would have had to drive fifty miles to where I had been previously registered anyway. Then election day came and she called to tell me that she would be late getting home from work. She decided to go vote. She had tricked me!
Finally it occurred to me that my political views just were not that important. Why were we sitting there in the bedroom being so serious about something so ridiculous. It’s not like either of us were involved in politics. I was a democrat, she was a republican and neither of us even claimed our chosen party. “I’m not really a republican, but…” she insisted more than a few times. It made no sense for us to be so passionate about politics. Its like discussing the weather. It changes with time and there is very little that an individual can do to influence it.
I wish I could say that we finally got past our political conflicts. It was more likely the end of the election and all of the political ads that did the most to reduce the number of our debates. But I did learn some tricks along the way. Though patronizing, I found that: “Yes dear you are right.” worked wonders.