Tonight, I will miss the election coverage because I will be out of the country. No, it’s not what you’re thinking. I had to leave for work and not because I felt the need to flee before I saw or heard one more inflammatory political ad. And the election coverage I will be missing is not from CNN or MSNBC or Fox News. The coverage I will truly miss is the discussion at the dinner table tomorrow night and watching the results roll in with my family.
At my dinner table we have an Independent, a bleeding-heart Liberal, two Libertarians and one Communist who thinks Vladimir Putin is awesome. (Added Bonus: guess who is who!) But do we let that stand between us and passing the butter? Heck no. As much as I would like everyone to be on my side of every political argument, I love that we can have so much diversity at the table. You should hear the discussions. Have my thoughts on certain policies changed after meatloaf with my family? You bet. On many accounts. And that has nothing to do with indigestion and my meatloaf, thank you very much.
It’s important to not try to raise our kids to be little mini-me’s. While I never would have predicted their political predilections, I’m proud of them for having their own opinions, and for their ability to back them up with facts. Even my Communist. (“They never ran out of bread at the orphanage,” she says.) (Plus, I’m proud of that prolific preponderance of alliteration, too.)
As our country seems to become more and more politically divided, with everyone screaming out their views on social media, sometimes with so much animosity and anger, I think we all could take some lessons from my dinner table: You can have different opinions. You should be open to other opinions. You should be able to back up your own opinions with facts. You need to be civil about it. Respect each other. Always. And sometimes, you might just have to agree to disagree, but no matter what, you still have to pass the ketchup.
As a great American once said, A house divided against itself cannot stand. While our politics may be different, our goals are the same: a safe, comfortable and happy place to live. Because at the end of the night, no matter what the outcome, we’re still all in this together. And besides, who wants to eat their fries without ketchup? (hot dogs? a whole other story...)