I consider myself a political moderate.
Whether I am or not is a matter of personal opinion at this point. I am fully aware that I have strong liberal leanings on certain matters and strong conservative leanings on others. I’m not here to talk to subject anyone to my personal opinions. Or at least I have no intention of doing so today.
My current issue is that I have several strongly liberal friends and cousins, but my immediate family is strongly conservative. Up till last week, my only solution for dealing with this was to keep my political views to myself , take several deep breaths, and try not to punch anyone.
Mind you, I never said this was a good solution. Mostly it has caused me a lot of frustration, because people think my silence is an excuse to plug their own political agenda at me.
But, after years of having to listen to everyone else, I finally had an epiphany. Roughly speaking I thought of it was last week and, so far, things have gotten a lot less frustrating.
I start by listening to the person. (This isn’t hard, particularly if they’re an extremist. I like extremists because they’re almost always completely and utterly nuts. I find them funny. There’s a possibly I have a sick sense of humor.) Once I’ve had enough – usually the point the fuse on my temper starts to burn – I ask:
“So what are you proposing to do about it?”
And anybody who says, “Well, the people should…” or “The government must…” or “Politicians have to….” earns this phrase as well:
“I didn’t ask what they needed to do. I asked what you’re going to do about it. There’s a difference.”
So far, this has killed more than a few political tirades. For example: I haven’t heard a word from my father on the subject for nearly a week.
And don’t think the people who I agree with are getting cut any slack here either. I actually get more frustrated with them, because they’re preaching to the choir and refuse to back off. And, heck, I’d sure like to change things, but I have no money, no political clout, and no ideas. I’m more than willing to listen to any suggestions at this point. Any suggestions at all.
But until someone comes up with one I can do, at least I’m enjoying the silence.