19 March, 2005

Politics - The Family Business

I was raised in a household that was unabashedly Republican. I remember, when I reached the age of being aware of such things, my parents voted for Nixon. I remember hearing afterward "they all do it, he just got caught" and similar rationalizations. I remember driving to Wonderland Mall in Livonia to see Gerald Ford while he was campaigning unsuccessfully against Jimmy Carter. I remember, at age 10 or so, campaigning for several local Republicans like Carl Pursell, Marv Esch, and William Milliken - all prominent in the world of Michigan related politics.

Toward the end of my high school years and for a few years after, say, until I was about 24 or 5, I would categorize my political expression as typically reactionary. I was probably one of those "there ought to be a law" kind of people. I found several causes in which allowed me to rebel. Know what I mean?

I would now categorize myself as a "radical for capitalism", to borrow a phrase I heard from talk show host, Mark Scott.

When I married my wonderful wife, I joined a family that was decidedly Democrat and particularly liberal in their views of the social order. This has never been an issue for me because I have chosen the path of NOT attempting to debate issues within the family. I have remained quiet at the rare family dinner events of the holidays when we travel. I was raised with the understanding that you always show respect for your host while you are under their roof or eating their food. Though I could have entered the fray of several spirited discussions, the more prudent path, in my estimation, has been to keep my mouth full of food and keep the overall peace for the long term.

This past election was a major test of my resolve and I admit I nearly blew it all up. I ignited a small firestorm with my in-laws after I began receiving email through the DNC media machine. I fell on this sword, mainly to not alienate my wife, and did my best to quell the unrest within the family. The email still arrive with almost reliable predictability but that is what the delete key is for, right?

The point of this lengthy post? Oh yeah, the point. I knew there was a reason for all this typing.

There is a curious intersection when differing political opinions are engaged within the family and/or extended family groups. Currently, the rhetoric and name calling so prevalent in the media has surely transcended to "friendly parlor talk" around the dinner table. I can find plenty to disagree with from both major parties but I think the broad sweeping generalizations need to stop. The red state/blue state debates are really quite tiresome and are starting to resemble something more like Spy vs Spy. Talk about incrementalism.

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