Don't ask, don't tell, don't bring up: A policy for discussing controversial topics among friends

I have a lot of friends who don’t see eye-to-eye with me on various social political issues like Abortion, Gun Control, Same-Sex Marriage, Immigration and Orange is the New Black.  Occasionally we have gotten into it over the years in real life and on Facebook but for the most part, we silently mutually agree to disagree.  Or more correctly, we have an implicit don’t ask, don’t tell and don’t bring it the fuck up policy.

If you wait long enough, everything is biodegradable!  Photo Credit: Jen Ramauro

If you wait long enough, everything is biodegradable! Photo Credit: Jen Ramauro

It’s not that we don’t stand by our convictions or that when push comes to shove we won’t fight for our beliefs.  We just somehow arrived at the foregone conclusion that nothing we say is going to change the other person’s mind and why ruin an otherwise enjoyable interaction.  I usually don’t profess my stance on issues because I just don’t want to hear it from the other side.  And they don’t want to hear it from me.  So let’s just move on and try and have a nice day. This is sometimes called taking the path of least resistance.

I call it the Overhead of Judgement.  It’s just that after all the arguing and insulting and drama, we made the choice that our friendship is more important to us than our opinions.  On some level we realize that our friendship was probably founded in some common love of volleyball, running, craft beer or whatever, not some political framework or religious outlook.

The other day a relative posted something about Obama being a Muslim.  I forgot to grab a screenshot of the post or a link for reference but this or a similar one shouldn’t be too hard to find through some rudimentary Google-Fu.  I typed out the following comment:

He’s not a Muslim, but even if he were…so what?  it’s not illegal to be Muslim nor is it against the Constitution for a president to be Muslim.

Alas, I did not publish the comment.  For one thing, it would have started a family feud that I can do without.  Commenting would have been seen as firing an uncalled for volley in our on-again/off-again Family Cold War.  You never really know how much longer your relatives will walk this earth and your children should have an opportunity to hang out sometime besides at a family funeral.

Secondly, commenting like that might have upended the silent cease fire my conservative friends and I have going.  I really don’t need my conservative friends and my relatives having a flag waiving convention on my feed.

Finally, it’s not like relative would have said “oh you’re right.  As long as they are over 35 and born in the US of A …”

Article VI, paragraph 3 of the Constitution states: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”   — Source

To date not a single Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or other non-Christian has occupied the White House.  That is something we should talk about…now.
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