A long time ago when I was in elementary school (so a very, very long time ago), I remember asking my mother who she was planning on voting for in the upcoming presidential election.
"It's not polite to ask," she told me.
I don't know if that rule was just in my family or if that was part of a bygone era, when asking someone about their political affiliation was akin to asking about their weight or their actual age. But in my immediate family, politics were rarely discussed and considered somewhat private. I don't even know if my parents told each other who they were voting for.
I miss those days.
When people thought that sex was private and so were political attachments.
I've seen a lot of mixed feelings about sharing political beliefs on the social media pages - some love the debate and some feel like it's the same thing as getting a campaign call in the middle of a dinner you've been waiting all day to have. Which is to say, they find it incredibly annoying.
I fall into the latter category.
This is mainly because the people who are talking about it just won't shut up. It's one thing to post one informational article a day. It's quite another to post 12 in a row so that my newsfeed is jam-packed with headlines like
Obama Will Welcome Destructive Aliens from Outer Space if Elected
& Plans to Give Them Florida as Incentive to Vote for Him!
Romney Offers Wife to Donald Trump if He Can Secure a Win!
Rosanne Barr is looking better and better.
When I see these headlines, it makes me skim and scroll down to one of the innocent (but previously annoying to me before the political season started what seems like 500 years ago) pictures of a kitten or a photo of someone's dinner the night before.
The funny thing about all of this is that I'm the person that all of these people are targeting: The one who hasn't completely dug her heels into the ground on one political side or the other. The one who just wants the best person for the job. But after months and months of outrageous headlines, phone calls, and emails from people I don't even know...would you like to know what I would like to do on Election Day?
Go get a latte, a pedicure, and skip the whole messy business of voting.
You've worn me down, but not the way you think. You haven't won me over, you've made me want to move to another country. You've made me believe, through your ranting and raving, that there just isn't a good person to vote for.
So I won't.
Hmmmm. Food for thought. And I'm not stupid. I know that there are people out there who want to confuse the American public as much as possible, in the hopes that whoever they're pulling for gets put into office because Kermit the Frog got 1,000 votes and screwed up the whole kit and caboodle.
And if that's your goal...I think it's working.
When it comes to emails, I find it interesting that the ones I usually receive are from people I don't know very well. I find it kind of...well...ballsy...that people will send emails out to their entire address book, most of whom they have never had a political conversation with before in their lives. I have gotten emails that are obviously racist, bigoted, and then there's the downright stupid. And do you know what that makes me want to do?
Hit delete on that relationship.
The interesting thing is, the most well-informed and well-educated people I know would never think to send me that stuff. I know that if I actively engaged one of them in a political discussion, they would tell me their thoughts. And I would listen to them. Because they're not being rammed down my throat.
Years ago, my late husband and I witnessed a political argument between two people who were so completely opposed in their beliefs...I couldn't even figure out why they were having the discussion. It was obvious that no amount of "facts" would make either one change their mind and they should have just shook hands and gone to their separate corners. And my husband - the one who had been in the military and worked for the Department of Defense and who had first-hand knowledge of the topics that were being argued - sat there in silence with a little smile on his face.
"Why didn't you say something?" I asked him later. "You know about that stuff more than either of those two."
"Because there was no point in getting into it," he said, calmly. "They both believed what they were going to believe. And in an argument that heated...I wouldn't get anywhere."
I know that some people will relate to this post and some won't. Some will be annoyed and some will nod their heads in agreement. And that's okay. I'm going to post it once - not 15 times today. I won't email anyone about it and I won't call anyone at dinnertime to see if they've read it. Because, when it comes to voicing an opinion, there are times when less is more.
And people who speak softly are often heard the most.