The U.S. Presidential election is coming up and my husband “Joe” and I belong to different parties, which has not caused any conflict between us. We have good friends, a married couple named “Sam and Susan”. I was always aware that Susan is a pretty outspoken member of the opposite party than me, but it’s never come up in conversation because I try to avoid talking about politics.
Today we went out to lunch with Sam and Susan and our children. After much pleasant conversation, Susan asked, “Are you ready for the presidential election?” Joe volunteered that he and I will cancel out each other’s votes. After questioning who was voting for who, Susan seemed shocked to find out that I am a member of the opposite party. “My esteem for you has just gone down,” she said, and not in a very friendly or joking way.
She then proceeded to hammer away at my candidate and everything he stands for. I stayed silent because I am not good at debating, and there was really nothing I could say that wouldn’t turn it into an argument. Of course, most of the things she was criticizing as terrible policies/programs are things that I believe in, so it was very hard to sit there and listen to them being trashed. Then Sam chimed in and the whole double diatribe lasted a good ten minutes. All I eventually said was, “Maybe Joe will convert me one of these days,” hoping to change the subject.
Later on, Joe agreed that Susan and Sam had been over the top, but other than the “esteem” comment, he felt that they weren’t criticizing me, just my party and my candidate. I feel that it is rude to subject someone to a diatribe against their political views when the other person hasn’t expressed any desire to debate or even discuss it. Who’s right? 1012-12
OK, you knew ahead of time that Sue was an outspoken person of a political party different than yours. I was surprised to read that you actually answered her question of who belonged to which political party instead of deftly beandipping so as to avoid the oncoming trainwreck of a discussion. Regardless of the topic, you cannot open the door to someone knocking and expect that the other person will “get it” that you consider it rude to discuss that topic.
And I agree with your husband that expressing an opinion about a party, its platform, it strategies and policies, etc is not a personal attack. Unless you happen to be the politician being scrutinized but then one would have to expect that as part of the job description of a public figure.
And this is a good post to announce the creation of an entirely new Ehell sister site, www.civilizedpolitics.com. Brand, spanking new…it’s a forum to discuss politics in a sane, civil, respectable manner for maximum edification. CivilizedPolitics.com