Thursday, September 27, 2012

5 Things to Remember When Your Family is Politically "Diverse"

It’s hard to believe it’s been four years, but here we are about to hold an election and the temperature of the debate is blistering. You probably share my frustration with dinner time robo-calls, endless TV commercials and campaigns where both sides fling sound bites at any available wall to see what will stick. Unfortunately, politics has gotten uglier as the amount of money involved has become obscene.

I can think of only one good thing about the overheated passions: it’s better than apathy. But when close friends and family disagree fervently about the candidates it is likely to incite more than just in-depth discussion. It may leave both parties shaking their heads and wondering how you could share the DNA of someone who is so obviously WRONG! I can’t shake the image of that infamous TV couple, James Carville and Mary Matalin. The ultimate in political diversity, I always wonder what life is really like in their household and what drew them together...or more importantly, what keeps them together. Is it possible that love can overcome political differences?

I am completely aware that my biases are obvious to anyone who knows me and in a debate I can defend my position with facts and logic. But I also know that my ‘facts and logic’ may be someone else’s party propaganda and slippery rhetoric. I read and listen to as much as I can to understand the back story and the truth (if there is any) in candidate positions, but almost every story can be turned upside down to justify one’s position, and when the other side twists and distorts facts it is hard to stay calm. I know there’s guilt on both sides of that coin. And don’t we all like to demonize the other side, once we’ve convinced ourselves that we are right?

So, while fully aware of my profound partisanship, I offer a couple of suggestions (slightly tongue in cheek) that might help ensure that, come the day after the election, your family is all still speaking to each other!

       1.      Elections come and go, but family is forever!

2.      Don’t imagine that you can convince anyone to change allegiance by a deluge of evidence. They already know what you know and they just don’t see it the way you do.

3.      Remember -- that person is just as certain as you are that disaster will befall the country if their man doesn’t win. No amount of sarcasm and/or condescension will change their minds, no matter how cleverly worded! 

4.      You might convince someone who is undecided, but at this point, after months and months of campaigning, anyone who is undecided probably doesn’t have a lot of passion about this election.

5.      If your guy wins, don’t gloat. If he loses, don’t pout.

 Now that all the polite and mature behavior has been discussed, one important thing remains to be said:
Be sure you are registered to vote. If your state demands a picture ID (and don’t EVEN get me started on that!) be sure to find out what you need to do. Get to the polls, or fill out your ballot and mail it in. Offer a ride to anyone who needs to get to the polls. Tune in and show up!

 I’m Nancy Calhoun and I approved this message!

(Re-elect President Obama!)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Star Light

the weight of all those wishes upon the first star
must be difficult to bear, the whole planet
thrumming with desires, mourning broken dreams,
longing to end their longing, to once again
surge with hunger for the life they intended.

star bright, just one small wish is all they ask.
right my boat, let me sail smooth seas, let me float
far from here where I have lost the memories,
lost the answers, the compass –
set me a new course, dear star, set me free. 

in the early twilight I see it, a gleaming pearl
alone in the dusky violet, as though it shines
on only me, and I send up a quiet yearning,
keep this small boat on this small sea
headed toward hope.
from  Dance on a Dirt Road