Friends and politics don't mix

My husband used to be an avid golfer. Not a great one mind you, just avid. Ok, he wasn't bad. I feel compelled to clarify that, lest you think he's some horrid duffer like me that gets excited if I don't need the "double par plus 1" rule of golf that the weekend player permits to be applied - if you know nothing of golf trust me, needing that rule is not very good. The rule essentially says if you suck at golf, the worst you can get on any given hole is twice the hole's par plus one. Par being the number of swings an average golfer would require to get that stupid ass little ball into the cup. So on a par three, I'd take a 7. . . often.

Anyway, so the husband used to play a lot. Then we had a kid and golf disappeared. But, truth be told, golf starting wanning a bit before that. He blames the decline on our brief era of 'boat ownership' the summer before I got pregnant. I look back and see that it almost coincides with the 2001 Presidential campaign.

Now, I don't often discuss politics publically. Its just one of those things that ever seems wise to do even with the most rational of people. For this entry's purpose though, I have to dwell on where I stand on the great political spectrum. I don't often tag myself to a party - but I've yet to meet a Democrat I could bring myself to vote for. ;) I tend to think the vast majority of elections become selecting the lesser of two evils. Sad really but I honestly believe factual. I am hardly what I'd call conservative. I'm that person that drives hard-cores on either side batty. I am a moderate...I just lean a wee bit to the right. My husband is standing right there with me just east of center.

So back in the golfing hey-day, Hubby met up with three buddies - older men he knew from way back when. The ring leader of this crew was so far to the left of the political spectrum its amazing he never fell off the ledge. They golfed throughout the Clinton years and the ring leader would every now and then spout off about vast right-wing conspiracy's while my hubby would bite his tongue fighting the urge to let loose. Every now and then he'd pop off a comment - something mild and humorous yet still, a point he felt he needed to make. And every now and then when he did so, the ring leader would grumble about stupid conservatives...which would make hubby and I laugh.

Then the election came. The ring leader got more boisterous in his pontifications. Hubby just settled into saying "Maybe we should just not talk politics and focus on golf. You're not going to change me and I'm not going to change you." The chatter went on but the calls to join up with the foursome started to drop off. Before long they stopped all together. I can't but think politics played a role. I find that terribly sad. To me this is an example of a sad fact - politics and friendships don't mix.

Its sad really. You can be cruising along in buddy-ship, clicking like two sides of a zipper. Then one of you blurts out an opinion on some hot politically hyped topic like its a basic fact the other will obviously go along with seeing as how you both enjoy things like old movies and campy comedy shows. And the other doesn't. The cynic in me - which quite honestly is a beast that rarely shows its ugly little head - believes that even in the most openminded, this difference can cause a wee little crack in friendship's foundation. Often times its not enough to dessimate the thing, but enough differences, esp vast differences, can crumble a friendship to pieces. Thus the lack of golf in my husband's life. Its even sadder when one person is happy enough to just ignore those issues when together as if they didn't exist but the other sees it as too great an obstacle.

So why write this now? Well we're in the heat of the 4-year cycle where even flushing a toilet becomes political. I read blogs, I talk to folks, I over hear chatter. And I bite my tongue. I fear that speaking up and spouting off will cause those riffs. I worry that I'll loose buds by saying "Hold on a minute, did you ever stop to consider that Iraq USED weapons of mass destructions on the Kurds post-1991. He had them, the bigger question is not did he have them. He did. Even France and Bill Clinton believed it and said so publically pre-2003. The big question, the scary question, is where the hell are they now? To me, the threat was never directly from Sadaam himself. The threat was him handing off those weapons to a guy like Bin Laden who is just biding his time waiting to use them. To me the fact that we can't find them is scary not because I feel 'mislead and betrayed' but because I'm terrified someone is holding on and just waiting to pop one off." But I don't say those things (ok so I just did but typically) because it'll start cracking open a can of worms. And THAT is scarier than either "evil" on the ballot.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

Sandy, you are so right about what the "big" question is. I try not to think about it and I definitely try not to discuss it for reasons you have mentioned, but it is nice to know that I am not alone in my wondering!

Looks like our friendship may withstand the politics (wink). I, too, am just to the right of the center line.