Every four years my husband and I dread the presidential election—he’s a Democrat, and I’m a Republican. We argue over every little remark, comment, topic, and debate we see or read about. I am actually wondering how I could’ve married someone so diametrically opposite. I guess this wouldn’t be so bad, except we are two very passionate people who both think we are right when it comes to our country’s future. Can you help us before we argue politics to the death?!
Dear Politically Correct,
SIGH. Politics, Politics, Politics.
As Winston Churchill famously said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” I couldn’t agree more with Sir Winston on this, for problems just like this one.
Isn’t it frustrating that we have a government—but even worse, a nation—bitterly divided over differences of opinion? Families and homes broken down the middle because one half agrees more with the talking head on CNN than the one on FOX News?
Here’s the real dilemma, as I see it:
We are no longer arguing about the root issues. We are simply playing ping-pong with someone else’s opinion on these issues – and you know what they say about opinions don’t you?
If we could lay all the issues out on the table and simply get down to the brass tacks, I bet we would all see that many of our views on how things should end up aren’t all that different.
We all have our idea of the course we should chart to get to a certain end. Does it really matter if we take Road A, or Road B to get there—if neither is going to do any harm?
Now, now. I can already hear you screaming about the harm the opposing party will definitely inflict if chosen to run the show. But can we honestly say that when the other side was running things all was well and good? No. And let’s not pretend that in all of history that’s ever been the case.
As long as there is mankind, there will be a difference of opinion on how mankind should be taught, governed and led. Does this mean we stop trying to agree? Not at all.
So how do you live in the same house, sleep in the same bed, and coexist peacefully with someone whose values are so intrinsically different than yours?
Either you learn to do the hardest (and I think, more impossible) thing, and take discussing politics off the table completely during the election years, or you learn to listen, not judge, and have conversations that don’t turn to arguments. You let go of ego completely. Stop thinking about which supposed ”leader” your spouse will be following that week, month, or year. You just let go, love, and accept them just as they are.
Does this mean that when your daughter wants to have an abortion and he gives her permission, that you just shrug and go along with it? Does it mean that when you want to buy a handgun to uphold your 2nd amendment rights, that he doesn’t get to have a say? No. You’re married, and everything now is a compromise. A mature decision between two people to live peacefully together, while being independently separate.
There’s a reason why you got married right? Somewhere in all that argument BS, there are two people who believe in the same basic values. So try and get back to that. In the worst and most aggravating times, lead the conversation back to the real issues. The roots. Not the politics. Politics aren’t meant to steer the course of our relationships, these days it seems they are largely meant to entertain.
And if you still can’t figure out how to just let it go, read this.
Not all politically relevant. But then again … that’s kind of my point, right?
Dear Kate is a column that runs on Kate-book.com every Thursday at noon. It is written by the wise Katharine Luckinbill, who you should follow on Twitter. Got a life, friendship, family, dating, or relationship question that you’d like Dear Kate to answer? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and she will help you out.