See what I did there? I got political already. I’m really not trying to. I’m just saying that, this past weekend, things took a needed step and people were ready to Move On. Agh! I did it again! Sorry. It’s just so hard these days.What a weekend we had in Maryland. I’m not sure the weather could have been any hotter and still have retained such oppressive amounts of humidity. But the rains held off and we all put on our wedding attire and sweated like we didn’t care — which we didn’t. Anna and Riccardo got married. The Best Man, Julio, admirably served double duty as translator for the healthy contingent of Italian friends and relatives from Bologna, who spoke little to no English. Jean was amazing, being the polyglot she is. She’s fluent in Spanish but she also is able to pick up amazing amounts of other languages just by listening to them. Throughout the weekend, she was able to hold small conversations with the mother of the groom and others. Then, she switched to French to speak with Jean Pierre, their cousin from Switzerland. Occasionally, she got mixed up and started switching languages, but that made it all the more fun.

And let me say that everybody was on their best behavior in that there was zero political discussion the entire weekend. Everybody just enjoyed each other’s company without trying to make a point about how the country is going to hell in a hand-basket due to the incompetence of an illegitimate President, or how hate, distortion, greed, and voter suppression are being used to steal an election. Nothing. None of that. Just 48 hours of celebration, connecting with distant family relations, and making new friends from around the globe.

This had been a very real concern going into the weekend because my family can reflect the political divisions of our country, as well as the anger and passion behind it. It has fairly ruined some family gatherings in the past. I won’t deny that there were nervous stomachs and even some illness involved as we headed into the festivities. But there’s no need to go into all of that. Everybody rallied and in the end, we all had a great time.

It was a great reminder that we all have a lot more in common than we think. That’s not popular these days because what riles up the base and brings in the fund raising dollars is the distrust and loathing of those crazy, dangerous, and stupid people on the other side. It’s easy to drink the Kool Aid on both sides and buy into the fear that this country is a fragile paper-mache doll in danger of being crushed by enemies of America on the other side of the aisle. When we allow political ads and messaging to poison our ability to get along with others (see Congress) we fail at being citizens, Christians, and human beings. This is not an accusation, it’s a confession.

I’m not saying that I’m not actively supporting one political side’s policies over the other. You should know me better than that. And I’m always up for a respectful and passionate debate about the issues. But these things have been discussed and debated to death for nearly two years now. I remember the days when Presidential campaigns began with the conventions. In fact, my aunt Linda reminded me of when conventions decided the nominee. It was not foregone conclusion going in. Back room deals were done at the convention to sew up enough delegates. The roll call vote was not just an administrative procedure. There was drama. Deals were being made with states at the end of the alphabet as the roll was being called.

Today, if you don’t know which side you are on by now, you are just choosing to be obstinate by refusing to choose or admit to a side. (Not that I completely blame you for refusing to be labeled.) If you really love this country, perhaps the best thing you can do is get to know and appreciate someone on the other side rather than demonizing or evangelizing them.

This is not easy. I’m already realizing that I’m going to have to re-read this to see if I really believe the crap I’m shoveling. But I’m pretty sure that I do. And here’s the proof: my brother Doug, my nephew Kevin (can you tell they’re related?), and yours truly.

This hasn’t happened in like three years. It has weighed heavy on my heart ever since. But this past weekend, I really enjoyed hanging with Doug. And Kevin is such a great kid. The only thing we argued about was whether or not The Bourne Legacy is a worthy sequel to the others. That debate continues.

All of this may seem foreign to you. Maybe your family is apolitical and would never think of letting petty disagreements divide them. Good for you. All I can say is it happens. But with a little time, a little water under the bridge, family can prevail. Even two months before the election. We built that! Agh! There, I did it again!

November 7 cannot come quickly enough.

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About carpetbagger

Tom and Jean are just a couple of Chicago transplants in Lawrenceville, a neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Posted on September 6, 2012, in Misc, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. My family is pretty effing awful with elections. My grandparents watch Fox News as a ‘reliable source’ of information. My aunts are so far left of center that I wonder if there’s a party for that. My uncle says that Obama’s goals in life are to ruin it for all the white people. And my Mom just wants it to be Thanksgiving already.

    The amount of passive aggressive hateful email my grandma sends to the family regarding abortions and gays and nose rings would appall you. But at least she signs it, “I still love you. I just don’t always like you.” Gosh, thanks, Grandma.

    Yay my family!

  2. My families (the one I grew up in and the one I married into) don’t talk about politics because we know the other person (or people) isn’t going to change his or her mind. The point of debate is to be persuasive, right? But we know, for whatever reason, persuasion isn’t going to work. My brother is going to vote Republican; my ILs are too. My parents and my husband and I are going to vote Dem. I would talk about it if I felt I could change someone’s mind — if they were undecided. But I know they are decided, sometimes for what I think are bad reasons, but there you go.

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