Politics is my spectator sport

Categories: The Juggle, Working? Living?

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I rarely talk politics at work, even though it’s generally a safe bet for me, what with my being a card-carrying member of the Liberal Elite Media and all (not all of whom are Liberals, I might add). There are plenty of people who are pretty outspoken about where they stand, and I’m about as opinionated as they come, but still, while I’m likely to chime in to a discussion in progress, I try to view politics as more of a spectator sport.

I do the same thing at home, too, because we’re a politically blended family, but with a twist: My husband and I are on the same page when it comes to fiscal, social, and international politics; it’s our older kids who are on the other side of the aisle.

Our oldest daughter is a shrewed debater with a keen interest in politics. My husband is a shrewed debater with a keen interest in politics, a penchant for playing Devil’s Advocate, and an irrepressible urge to truth-squat. This makes for some lively dinnertime discussions.

I try to stay neutral during these discussions at home, in part because I’m usually distracted by our toddler and his boundary-pushing antics, in part because it’s actually very entertaining to watch my husband and our oldest match wits, and in part because, at not-quite-15, her ideas are still forming, and I’d rather she explore them than defend them (or, worse, parrot what she’s been told is the “correct” thing to believe). It’s easier to explore them in a one-on-one discussion than in a two-on-one debate, I think.

That said, sometimes it’s hard to keep my mouth shut and appear neutral. When my brother tries to goad me into taking a side, for example. Or when a very passionate liberal friend or an equally passionate conservative neighbor wants to chat about my lack of yard signs. Or when said oldest daughter carves her Halloween pumpkin to look like the campaign sign for her chosen team. Or when someone makes a snide comment about a candidate and assumes I feel the same way. (Please, people… don’t tell me what you hate about Obama or McCain… I’m much more interested in hearing why you like the candidate you’ve chosen.)

I want to tell them not to mistake my silence for indecision — I know exactly for whom I will vote come Tuesday, and I kind of side with David Sedaris when it comes to people who are still undecided at this point. But, rather than try to change your mind — or deal with the people who’d like to change mine — I’d much rather watch and see what happens.

How about you? Do you discuss politics at work — or anywhere?



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4 comments so far...

  • [...] Politics is my spectator sport - The 36-Hour Day - Work It, Mom! [...]

    Obama and Mccain Go Head To Head | T5m Insider  |  November 3rd, 2008 at 9:01 am

  • I will throw in a quip here and there, but for me it’s mostly a spectator sport too. In most of the places I go, I’d either be preaching to the choir or ruffling feathers. It is very hard to keep quiet when someone is stating with full, honest belief something he heard that I know is untrue. So in a case like that, I might throw out a few words to suggest there is more to the story. But the only place where I really talk politics seriously is at home, because I live with an immigrant US citizen who is truly unsure about some aspects of American culture and history, and gets most of her info from one TV source. I have never presumed to tell her how she should vote, but I am happy to supply facts that I have learned from 42 years of the American experience and the many news sources (both sides) that I read.

    SKL  |  November 3rd, 2008 at 11:16 am

  • at work i am mostly spectator. however there are some one on one discussions that evolve with a trusted few. at home i speak more freely, my extended family is quite a mix though so there i tend to watch it and only correct things that i know are incorrect facts. beyond that i also like the idea of people coming to their own conclusions.

    i doubt anyone has changed their minds or sought out more information by being chastized for their voiced opinions.

    kate  |  November 3rd, 2008 at 10:17 pm

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    Sports News » Blog Archive » Politics is my spectator sport - The 36-Hour Day - Work It, Mom!  |  November 19th, 2008 at 12:32 am