Sleeping with the Enemy…

Political enemy, that is.  I’m not really sure how it got started but I ended up in several conversations this week (with Miss Agnes, Miss H, Miss Dubs and Mr. G) about politics in Oklahoma and party affiliation, which led to the question:

WOULD YOU MARRY SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF YOUR POLITICAL PARTY?

I did some polling (sort of) of some of the major players.  Here all the results:

The Unmarrieds

Yes: Miss H, Miss Dubs, Mr. G

No: Me

Abstained: Miss Agnes

The Marrieds (NOTE: I didn’t actually ask them. This is based on who they actually married.)

Yes: Mrs. K2, Miss Preppy

No:  Mrs. V, Mrs. Bookworm, My mom*

* My mom said that when she got married (31 years ago today!) she could have married someone from the other political party, but that things were less polarized in the 70s than they are now.  If she were getting married today, she’d have to say no.

Initially, I was really surprised that I was the only person from my (admittedly loose) poll who said no.  But then after hearing my friends responses, I thought I was MAYBE being too rigid/inflexible/picky/any other adjective describing me as unreasonable.  So what is my reasoning for wanting to marry someone affiliated with the same political party? I’m so glad you asked…

Rock the Vote Bus. Legit.

Here’s the thing, for me, politics are personal.  My responses to the so-called issues relate back to some of my core personal beliefs.  I was raised to be a politically interested person and forced to GOTV (Get Out the Vote! <— anyone remember the MTV Rock the Vote Bus?!) from an early age.  Seriously, every time there was a school bond issue my parents would drag us out of bed at unreasonable hours and post us on prominent street corners with giant signs in our little hands telling people to VOTE YES! This really happened.  (And for the record, as a product of public schooling I still vote yes for all school bond issues.  People did it for me and my education so I’m happy to pay it forward.  Bonus: I don’t actually pay property taxes right now.)  All of that is to say, I struggle to separate the personal and political.

How can I be intimate with someone who disagrees with me about race/gender/sexual orientation equality? Or abortion? Or tax cuts?  Or the interplay of state and federal government and their respective roles?  The way I feel about these things is very real to me.  I will readily admit that I struggle when talking politics with friends from the “other” side.  Struggle as in force myself not to scream and yell and throw things.  That’s what intelligent political discourse is about, right? Not throwing stuff?  So I don’t understand how I could marry someone whose beliefs were fundamentally different from mine.  That’s not to say I couldn’t respect someone with different beliefs (and I feel I show my respect through the aforementioned restraint re launching projectiles), but actually unite myself with them in holy matrimony until the end of time? EEEeeek. That is serious.

And then comes the voice(s) of reason in the form of my comrades, some of whose political leanings are completely opposite mine.  Some of their good points:

Them: How can you rule out an entire political party?  Me:  That is a lot of people in a small state.  Point taken.

Them:  What if you have lots of other things in common and you get along really well?  Me:  Having similar hobbies does not a marriage make.  And will we get a long really well if we disagree about big stuff?

Them:  This is a little bit extreme.  Me: Hi, have we met? Extreme is my middle name.

Them:  How do you really know how you will feel about this situation until you are in it?  Me:  I won’t.  But exploring it has been thought-provoking and makes for good blog-fodder. =)

Ultimately, I don’t think I can ban everyone in the other party from my dating pool.  That’s just a little harsh.  However, when it comes to marrying or even dating someone from the enemy camp, I think I will always be a little leery.  I think it would take one hell of a guy for me to commit to a lifetime of agreeing to disagree on politics.

What say you blogosphere? Do politics matter that much in a relationship?  Does it all depend on the circumstances?  Or am I just being a rigid witch?

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4 Comments

Filed under Love

4 responses to “Sleeping with the Enemy…

  1. idwsj

    People love their politics. But I love people more than politics, that’s for darn sure.

  2. Mrs. BW

    People are more important than politics, but when it comes to raising kids, politics are like religion; both partners need to be on the same page. My political views are directly responsible for how I live my life. What if I had married someone even more conservative than my ex-army husband and I came home to the TV blasting FoxSpews showing Glenn Beck crying? The answer: Divorce. Or what if I was with someone who thinks that because someone is hispanic and possibly an immigrant it’s okay to treat them like they’re sub-human? Or what if my husband thought that the corporations are just as important as people and are deserving of people’s rights (Citizen’s United)? Those political issues seep into my life to make me who I am. Sidney (the husband) already comes across more conservative than I am, but at least we’re the same color overall: Blue.

    • idwsj

      I can definitely see how politics can play a significant role in relationships; I suppose it’s a bit odd that it never has for me. I’ll chalk it up to always being in relationships with like-minded people where it never became an issue.

  3. Here’s another thought from the married perspective:

    From my experience, most people, especially from Oklahoma and Texas, usually don’t know what they are talking about when it comes to “the issues.”

    Sure, they spew out some spoon-fed lines they overhead their parents/grandparents/bosses/friends saying at dinner — but do they really understand those lines? Usually not.

    Even though most people tend to be especially stubborn when it comes to politics and religion, if you can help others try to understand your point of view, and back it up with reason, logic and concrete examples, there is a sliver of hope.

    Although my husband isn’t 100% on my team, he’s getting there. It’s just a matter of time, of me explaining to him why I feel the way I do — not just “because” — and him seeing how policy decisions affect our daily lives and the lives of those we care about.

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