In My Opinion
Talking Politics Among Moms? Not Me, Not In This Country!
Oh boy. With Election Day less than 3 months away things are really heating up. I give credits to bloggers like Joanne Bamberger of Pundit Mom, who have made it their business to talk politics and discuss the issues. To me, women like her are not only courageous, but also incredibly patient and tolerant.
I consider myself to be quite courageous, but not so patient – at least not when it comes to personal attacks, death threats, and all the other ugly things that happen in the discourse of American politics. It’s quite ugly, actually. So ugly that I would never consider speaking of it among a group of other parents, unless it was clear we were of the same political affiliation, or not crazy. Sad, isn’t it? That’s really so American of me, this inhibition to discuss what my political beliefs are in public among a group of other moms.
Granted, to meet me, or even follow me online for awhile, it would be clear what my political affiliations are, where I stand on religion, and even on many social issues – but, like most Americans, I don’t often discuss these issues in social settings because people aren’t capable of having a civilized discussion on various issues without eventually wanting to kick the other person’s puppy and make them cry. Or not hire them for a job. Or attempt to discredit them as a human being. Or worse, try to harm them physically. I have been known to rant every so often, but in general, I rather avoid the fight, because fight I can do, but I would prefer not to – especially over politics. And people are just itching for one, aren’t they?
In my Latino culture politics is a constant conversation, with anyone, anywhere, any time. Sure the discussions are loud and passionate, but no one goes home an enemy or feeling as if their children can no longer be friends because of their social or political stance. Talking politics is a favorite pastime, and it’s also a way to share history and how each different president and political representative has affected our livelihoods, families, or choices throughout our lives.
Ask anyone in the Dominican Republic about the history of their presidents and chances are they will have something to say. Young people take to the streets often to protest some political movement or social change. During the election seasons caravans take to the street promoting one political party or another. Flags and signs hang proudly outside homes supporting their favorite political figures. Arguments get heated over a game of domino and cervezas – yet, people don’t go around insulting each other’s mothers and children and making threats or ending friendships.
What is it about a country which was formed on the basis of freedom and liberties that has made us so incapable of civilized discussion and tolerance of others. This same train of thinking carries itself in our political discourse from the top down, and it should be a great source of humiliation for all Americans. We are not looking too good out there people…I can tell you for a fact the world is either laughing at us or shaking their heads at us. It is that bad.
The politics are ugly, the politicians are ugly, and the only people free to talk about them are reporters with whom no one can connect or relate to. Not sure where our power of discourse went, but I am sure it got lost somewhere among the fear tactics, threats and hostility, both anonymous and not, often found in parenting chat rooms. People’s ability to look outside of themselves and open their minds to other’s opinions? To agree to disagree and still remain friends? Not likely.
I applaud my political-talking-head-female friends, and mothers, who step up to the plate every day to discuss the issues that affect us on a social and personal level, and who manage to graze past the daggers of ignorance thrown at them daily for doing so.
We need real people having these discussions in an intelligent way, in a civilized manner, regardless of their political affiliation and religious beliefs. And we need to learn to talk to each other, because no matter who you vote for this November, we live in a world where we will often need to rely on the kindness of our neighbors and friends to get by: as citizens, as parents, and as people. Understanding each other and working past our differences can only be managed through open discussions, but these will only take place when the element of threat and hostile discourse is lifted.
I’m ready for the challenge. Are you?