Monday, June 22, 2009

Family Politics

PICT0028Political debates at family gatherings? yes or no

PICT0029 When you come from a large family there will usually be quite a spectrum of political belief and political involvement. My Dad has always loved a good debate. As a child I remember sitting in the hot van ready to get my scratchy dress off after church, while he was standing out in the parking lot waving his arms in a heated debate over some scripture passage. Not exactly how a Sunday lesson is meant to be, I know, but lets just say strong emotions run deep in our family when it comes to our beliefs.

I’m pretty sure among my siblings we have supporters of Obama and Ron Paul, liberals and conservatives, activists, and people who would rather live ‘off the grid’ and let it all go by.

So what happens when you get together and a family gathering turns into a heated political debate? Are there topics you just avoid or do you just let the opinions fly? We’ve had some hurt feelings before, and I personally believe that the more heated an argument gets the stupider people become. It’s the adrenaline I think.

If I were hosting a dinner party with friends I would steer the conversation clear of divisive topics, but do you do that with your own family or just revel in your differences?

Alternately, we like to get together with people who are pretty much on our side of the fence, where we can discuss political happenings at ease. But you can’t do that with family. You can’t (or at least I can’t) invite just the right wingers to a gathering.

The love I have for my family goes way beyond their political identity. But the debate always starts, and like they say, it’s all fun and games until someone looses an eye.

So how do you handle it?


  1. I like a discussion...not a debate. But there are people who LOVE to debate. So once the conversation starts getting too heated, I leave the debating to them and walk away. Usually by the time it turns to an arguing debate, no one is going to change their mind anyways.

  2. Last night wasn't a discussion anymore after just a few moments, and what I hate about debates is when the attacks become less about facts and opinions (because our opinions on the same facts can be different) and more about the pther person...last night it was actually said to me .."Well, you're not just even close to my level of knowledge..." ummmm, okay, how do we discuss in that environment? I love that we are vocal about what we believe, but can't help but wonder what it would be like if everyone stayed calm and actually listened to the other people's opinions.
    I don't think that will ever happen with our gang....


  3. I don't like put downs like that either. It may not have been meant that way, but you hear a lot ( from people on either side of an issue)
    that the problem is education. If people were educated they would see things my way, or if they read this book, or watched this movie.
    While things like this can shape peoples opinion, I think two people can see the same things and come up with different conclusions. Sometimes I read something and it rings true to me with such intensity that I want everyone to read it. But who's to say they would feel the same way. If opinions are already formed it's hard to change them.
    Perhapse I read too much Jane Austen, but I dream of having a calm discussion with give and take and true gentlemen making sure everyone gets a chance to be heard. When a conversation gets LOUD and everyone inturrupts, then men's loud voices take over and a woman can't be heard. Now I am the farthest thing from a feminist you can find, but it infuriates me when I can't participate in a political discussion because my voice is drowned out by louder voices inturrupting.
    I do not want to shout to be heard. (Hello, political blog!) I know we've come a long way, but I still dream of little things like decorum and propriety!

  4. First, I don't know what happened here or any of the details, but I had nothing to do with it!
    Second, if anyone has this on video, please send me a link. :-)