I am a liberal. Okay? Well, even if it’s not okay, I am and I find I spend an inordinate amount of time avoiding conversations on politics with people I know are conservative. Why? Because it serves no purpose to discuss politics since we are so far apart. There is no way we are going to change each other’s minds and in the end, we’ll lose what we do have – friendship, companionship or possibly even a family relationship.
I’m getting fairly good at sitting through hours of Fox News when visiting one relative, enduring discussions around the dinner table with folks with vastly different opinions than me about immigration, ObamaCare, President Obama himself, his wife, his birthplace, the various scandals that have recently popped up.
I made two mistakes recently. I was lured into one hot disagreement about immigration with this sentence, “Being born in America should not be the criteria for being an American.” I charged in as the only liberal in the room and it was a huge waste of energy and terribly frustrating for me (and I’m sure the people I was talking to.)
I had made the decision that in the future I would leave the room and I fully intend to follow that protocol. But today, I made a slip. I asked a friend, who is a passionate Conservative, to read a letter to President Obama, which had in its beginning paragraph references to my admiration for him. I prefaced the request with the statement, “Try not to gag on the first paragraph,” hoping to lighten the moment, but in reality, I shouldn’t have put her in that position. I’m uncomfortable when I’m asked to agree (as if it’s a given) with someone who knows I have the exact opposite opinion. My bad.
I struggle online not to engage in the various stabs at politicians or political entities, partly because, once and if I start, I’m going to spend inordinate amounts of time at it. The other part of the equation is that online I am a writer, first and foremost. I want to connect to readers and other writers. My purpose for being there is not to spout political opinions. I’ll leave that to others for whom the purpose of social media is to express their politics, and I have no issues with their agenda; to each their own.
Really - that’s why we love this country, right? The right to have our own opinions, and express them, if we choose.