Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rational Thought or How 'Bout Them Packers

We're in the midst of an incredibly important election. It will be as important as the 1960 Kennedy/Nixon presidential race in terms of what direction America goes in for (I believe) the next 20 years. The stakes are high. Emotions are running higher. So, in the interest of maintaining friendships and not ruining Thanksgiving, I urge all of us when discussing our choice of candidate to do two simple things....
  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Calm the #@%* down
Yes, this presidential election is very important. But we all have friends or family who have different political views than we do, and we're not going to change their minds. Not with our rational, cogent arguments, not with our carefully researched talking points, not with our impassioned defense of the need for change/staying the course in these troubled times and not by calling them bleeding heart liberal wussies or reactionary racist cavemen. It's just not going to happen.

The best we can do is to agree to disagree. Before the interwebs, this wasn't so hard. In the blogging age however, it's become more difficult. Communication has become increasingly more impersonal and we often forget that, no matter how many smiley emoticons we include, you can't judge tone in a web post.

All politics are personal. There's no getting around that fact. But there's also no reason to torpedo friendships or alienate family over it. I've known my best friend for over 20 years and it is safe to say that we are on (mostly) opposite sides of the political spectrum. The way we have remained friends for over 20 years is that we rarely talk politics and when we do, we have a code. When things get too heated (or as close to heated as we get), one of us will say "How 'bout them Packers."

This phrase means, roughly, "We don't agree on this topic. We never will agree on this topic. This topic is now closed. Let's move on to what 80's tv stars we were in love with." I don't remember who came up with this brilliant idea (ok, I do...he did), but it has curtailed many thorny discussions and helped us (see #2 above) calm the #@%* down.

So, pick your battles. Support and work for your candidate. Try and make a difference. But (in the words of my lovely mother) don't act ugly and remember to ask "How 'bout them Packers?"

I'm Chris Ayers and I approve this message

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