There’s only been one occasion that I’ve been asked my political affiliation and it did not feel like a trap. And that singular event turned into quite an uplifting, if far too brief moment to simply shoot the breeze on associated topics without it de-evolving into a fight of who was right and who was wrong. An occasion that more than likely will never repeat itself because too often such inquires come heavily loaded with the makings of a showdown.
Cue The Good, The Bad and The Ugly theme song … waa waah waaaat
This may be partially because I have never felt the desire to ask someone such a bold (to me) question, for multiple reasons and as previously mentioned on the showdown. It is too familiar, private and potentially disastrous. Because once you cross that line there’s the inevitable ensuing sub-topics of religion, sex, kids, environment, wages, and whether or not one dyes their hair or shaves their armpits. Such a question, to me, should be just like asking a stranger when are you due? You don’t ask that, even if the individual looks ready to pop with quints when, in reality, that quint-belly is a bad case of indigestion.
No, asking party affiliations becomes a battle (waa waah waaaat) best saved for never because inevitable disagreement becomes the determination to be right. At all costs and possibly with some spilled blood as lines are drawn, battle cries made and team colors and flags raised because we must protect our massive, overblown political egos.
If you just pictured Mel Gibson in a kilt, we are on the same page.
Let’s face it; no one likes to be wrong or even potentially wrong to the point we question ourselves, feel doubt, and threatened. It is a terrible feeling wrapped in fear and self-loathing. I once launched into this massive social media battle over the merits of reconciliation against the non-merits of another, only to finally walk away with steam pouring out my ears. I couldn’t make peace with someone wanting my family to fail just so they could be right. But no matter what side of the fence you are on, whether its politics, religion, or dark chocolate versus milk chocolate, people have their preference or choice and that’s the bottom line. To continue with the arguing really doesn’t do anything, no one is going to exclaim the other was right all along and they were oh-so-wrong. It doesn’t happen because certain arguments are not really about the topic so much as soothing the ego.
This may be why the quote, you can be happy or you can be right, has been part of my focus as of late or at least I tried … more on that another time. Being a writer makes it extremely difficult, the job to stand for those who can’t speak and for what is right when everyone’s definition of those who need speaking for and what is exactly right is different. Conflict is not entirely avoidable, but refraining from harsh debates where no one can be a winner does alleviate conflict in situations where it’s not needed. Say during family get togethers, for example, or divorce court.
Now there’s a group that needs massive amount of space and non-fence sided topics. In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven by my hometown courthouse and felt a sense of duty to stop and head to the second floor. The one with Pepto Bismol painted walls and thick traffic outside the judge’s chamber with divorcing couples. To ask if there’s any potential for reconciliation here (Cause the court sure isn’t going to ask) but much like the act of asking about party affiliations or when are you due … you don’t go there.
waa waah waaaat
Bethany J. Royer is the mother of two munchkins and has a serious case of psychology student senior-itis. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.