Running Scared: Observations of a Former Republican
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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Keep it in the Family

posted by Jazz at 10/24/2004 08:56:00 AM


What a charming, bucolic scene. A playful family wrestling over their respective political campaign signs in their front yard.

I came across the picture this morning while reading an article by Elizabeth Cohen on the problems faced by families when different members hold opposing political views. (Good article, by the way. It's worth a look.) One of the key messages in this article is the importance of putting family relationships and the values that we hold dear well above any political differences that might divide us.

"Couples who differ politically are rarer. But celebrity couples such as James Carville and Mary Matalin, Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger, prove that mixed duos of Republicans and Democrats can co-exist. In fact, in one recent poll, conducted by a partnership between Gallup and the online dating service, 57 percent of those surveyed said they would marry someone with significantly different politics."

Such differences are evident right in my own family. I happen to be a moderate Republican who tends toward old school, Eisenhower era, fiscally conservative values while still maintaining a healthy respect for the opinions of people with other opinions. My wife is a Democrat, which of course defines her as a commie-loving, tree-hugging, nihilistic liberal. (Damn. I don't think I even remember how to pull out the folding bed anymore.) However, we both agree that Bush has to go, so while we may disagree on certain local and state elections, peace reigns in our house.

A different example is found with my sister. She is also a Republican, but she's supporting Bush. Rather than simply bashing her for her poor judgment, I felt it was more important to look at her personal circumstances and try to understand why she feels the way she does, and so gain a better measure of respect for her. The fact is, my sister became a mother at a rather early age and subsequently wound up being a grandmother by the age of 45. She's very concerned about what the future holds for her offspring, and thus considers herself to be one of the so-called "Security Moms."

This tells me three different things:

1.) My sister was a bit of a tramp who went on to raise promiscuous children;
2.) She hasn't the common sense that God gave a hedgehog;
3.) The above two traits are probably shared by most Bush supporters.

(Ok... having gone back to read that a second time, it may have come off as a bit partisan.)

The point is, this political season is extremely divisive. The one thing worse than seeing the electorate bitterly divided over ideological lines would be to see families torn apart over it. You can agree to disagree and still get along on the issues that really matter. Even if you married a liberal.