I’m sure I’ve said it here before, usually as I’m breaking my own rules, that I stay away from two topics: religion and politics. It’s not because I don’t care or don’t have any opinions on the topics. Quite the opposite actually. I care very much about the two topics. But I care about how I personally feel about them.
You see, I’m not on a mission to change the world. Don’t get me wrong. If I had the power, I’d probably make a few changes. And in fact, I do make an effort to contribute to the things in which I think I can make the most difference. But I’m not trying to make everyone think the way I think. I’m not even trying to make everyone understand how I think. Because I don’t have to.
Isn’t America great, if nothing else, but for that reason alone?
But I do care about politics. I can remember as a child thinking that any mention of politics was just about the most boring thing in the world. Whatever my parents thought, that’s what I thought. Whoever they supported in the election, well, that’s who I thought should win too. As I child, it was boring and didn’t matter much to me because I couldn’t really fathom how it affected me.
It matters to me now. The older I get the more aware I am of how political decisions affect me and my family. And on the broader spectrum, I understand how the decisions affect our place in the world (speaking in every sense of the word). I know what I support and why I support. So why is it so difficult to talk politics?
When I attended Type-A Parent Conference this year, I was in a social situation where I admitted to being a, gasp, Republican. It instantly changed the dynamics at the table. In the blogging circles I generally run in, I definitely feel like I’m in the political minority. I’m okay with that. In fact, it’s probably why I don’t want to talk about politics. I don’t want conflict.
But should a difference in opinion in politics result in a conflict? This is where I’m torn.
At that conference, I was met with looks of shock. One friend told me jokingly that she had suddenly lost a huge amount of respect for me. Another gave me a nudge and more or less whispered, “It’s okay. I’m one too.” And another, clearly of another political persuasion, asked me genuinely why I was a Republican. She just wanted to have an open, honest conversation with someone that believed differently to better understand an opposing viewpoint.
I felt instantly uncomfortable. I was worried about being attacked (not physically, of course) or having to defend every word I said. It was a conversation I wasn’t prepared to have and didn’t really want to have.
The problem in that situation was me. My views don’t fit into a box. I’m a pretty strong environmentalist. I support gay marriage. So I can’t possibly be a Republican. But I also believe in a strong military and less government. Am I Republican or am I simply a conservative?
I have to admit. I still miss the donkey.
I find myself afraid to have a conversation about it. You’re either a bleeding heart liberal or a right-wing conservative lunatic. There is no middle ground and we can’t get to a middle ground unless we can talk about it.
So I’m issuing you a challenge. I want to start a conversation here. Not a debate. Not mudslinging. Not a ploy for a ridiculous amount of comments. I want to hear where you are on the political spectrum.
Answer a few questions for me:
- Are you confident in your political views?
- Do you feel comfortable talking about your views?
- Can you share where you are on the political spectrum?
- Can you do it without taking shots at those that don’t share your views?
(If you’re not a U.S. citizen, you can still share your views. In fact, I’d love to hear them!)
And if this goes well, maybe I’ll tackle religion next.