Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Talkin' Politics

I live in a world carpeted with eggshells.

Before I start, understand that this blog isn't about my politics or your politics, it's about how we interact. It's about respecting each other. It's about how there are only fights and never debates anymore. It's about how we can't seem to talk politics without personal attacks.

Here's the deal. I'm a Southern girl, a Baptist and basically a huge ole rebel. My family (although all registered Democrats) are really conservative and almost always vote Republican. My church is Southern Baptist Convention, so you know what they're like politically. My friends are mostly liberal democrats, but I do have a few conservatives in the bunch.

I am the poster child for bleeding heart liberals. I am also very opinionated, loud, possibly even obnoxious. I have an opinion on everything and I love to share it. But I don't, share it, I mean. I don't talk about politics EVER (except at bookclub - love those guys) because I don't want to hurt anyone.

I don't want people to walk away as battered and bruised feeling as I do from conversations. I don't want people who can't separate politics from faith to spend the rest of their lives envisioning me rotting in hell because I merge my politics and faith differently from them. (For the record, my faith almost entirely informs my political views. If you disagree, I will be happy to explain it.) I don't want to hurt people. Because really, I'm not going to change their minds(understand that they are probably not going to change mine either) so why should I make us both miserable?

So, I am becoming very, very good friends with this sick feeling I get in my stomach when I feel like it is my duty to speak up, to defend my beliefs, to tell it like I see it, but keep my mouth shut. I have two issues with this:

1. I'm not sure that's okay. I believe in standing up for what I believe and I believe that if I don't, then why should anyone else. I love to debate (and I'm pretty good at it). I love to get the ideas flying around the room and have everyone hear everyone and respect that there are just as many different ideas as there are different people.

2. No one else is friends with that feeling. (Okay, that's a broad generalization and I'm sure that lots of people are, but just roll with me here.) People don't avoid the politics because I am there. People don't try not to hurt me, they don't try not to engage me. In fact, there are a few people in my life that I feel are constantly baiting me, trying to get me to get mad and go all debate-y. So, why should I be constantly subjected to their opinions without them ever hearing mine.

So, what's more important - making a stand or keeping the peace? Is it worth starting a war so that I don't feel like I've abandoned my beliefs? Or is it just selfish to have to share when people are obviously not interested in what I have to say?


Nathan said...

Cogent discussion can be had without it becoming a fight, as long as both parties agree to this as an unqualified term before beginning the discussion.

One of my good friends has completely different viewpoints from me on many personal/political topics, but we discuss them all the time. The goal being to learn more about the person and the viewpoint than to change minds.

Jessi said...

I totally agree. I think that is part of my angst. I want those discussions, I just don't get them. I used to love debating things. When I'm dealing with family, though, it seems to always be more fight than anything else.

Nathan said...

Family members rarely can agree to those terms, hence the fights.

I'll be in Georgetown the weekend of March 7th for Lisa's engagement party. I'll try to stop and say hi. Maybe we can debate something.