Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Politics at the Dinner Table

Family Hug
For the last couple weeks we've been hosting jb's brothers (the ones that live here in Philly) for Sunday night dinner.  We all cook, eat, and talk together and Leo is happy, happy, happy having so much family in our home.  It's been especially nice, because even though Leo and I see the boys fairly regularly, jb is usually at work, and rarely are we all in the same place at the same time.

As we cook we talk about our week, Leo - and inevitably, politics.  It's nice because we are all generally in the same camp - but with enough different viewpoints to keep the conversation interesting.  It can get pretty lively, but never disrespectful.  I really like that Leo is listening in on conversations like this - because they are hard to find.  Most of my friends have similar politics as me - and we talk politics, but we rarely disagree, so our discussions don't usually have a devil's advocate perspective.

On the other hand I have some friends and family with drastically different political views (and some that aren't very engaged/knowledgeable when it comes to politics).  In those cases I tend to avoid political talk because, well, it just isn't enjoyable.  It can be downright hurtful.  Politics is very personal to me (I imagine it is for most people, and particularly those that are facing votes/referendums/legislation on their families) - and I find it hard to hear people I otherwise care for espouse viewpoints that I find hateful and that directly attack my family.  And I'm not only talking about LGBT issues.  Still, I do think that there are certain relationships that are worth preserving despite what might otherwise be insurmountable distances.  These relationships are important to me for a variety of reasons, and I am able to love these people - although it feels like love at arm's length.  Does that make sense?

I was talking about this with jb and I was proclaiming with confidence that while I don't think politics should be a deal breaker for having someone in your life in any capacity, I could *NEVER* be married/partnered with someone that held mostly right wing views.  jb quietly listened as I (perhaps somewhat self-righteously) went on and on about how it was so far beyond my comprehension how some people were profoundly intimate with people that they disagreed with on such important moral issues.  Until finally, I prompted jb with, "Right? Can you imagine?"

"That's what I used to think about religion," jb answered.  (jb was raised devoutly Ukrainian Orthodox.)  Well, that certainly stopped me in my tracks and made me think again.  Of course we have been able to find mutual ethical values and life philosophies even if we don't share a major and important framework for those values.

I guess you should never say never.  Which is one more reason I think it's important for Leo to grow up around open and respectful discussions with differing viewpoints.  So I'm hoping these Sunday night dinners become a standing tradition - where we push each other to see an alternate side of the issue, eat delicious food, and end with an awesome family hug.

1 comment:

  1. I want a family hug and some political insight! I'm so embarrassed to admit that I'm so ignorant to it all. Icecream and politics Friday night?