I've been told...er...more than once that maybe I talk a little too much about politics and some people find it, uh, offputting. I try to be inclusive and openminded, but I guess sometimes my enthusiasm for certain topics comes across as haranguing and partisan. Oops.
So I've tried to stay mainly on neutral topics here, mostly because I know that this is a more conservative area, traditionally. Also I had several family members tell me to knock it off with the politics. Grandma even went so far as to suggest that this may be the reason why I'm not married yet, although I say, if he doesn't like Barack Obama then he's not getting a second date. Anyway, I try to stick to safe topics. But I was forcefully reminded yesterday that even "safe" topics are dynamite in the right setting.
Several of us were chatting about Harry Potter on our break. Okay, I was shouting happily about how I went to Platform 9 3/4 before there even was a Platform 9 3/4! I turned to another colleage and asked if she'd read the books, anticipating either a "yes" or an eye-roll and a "no." Instead I got a polite, "Oh no, I would never, it's the occult." Which brought me to a stop dead in my tracks. Thoughts bubbled up--"But, but, but---!" Convincing arguments, logical reasonings, all sped through my brain. I had read about people who believed that Harry was occultish, but never actually met someone who believed it. I know this person. She is a good person. We get along splendidly.
And we disagree totally, utterly, on the awesomeness of HP.
And I have to be okay with that, because I'm never gonna convince her otherwise, am I? It's not like I can say "oh, just read the books" (which is how all of you fell for it, haha, suckers), because that won't happen. So--and be proud of me, faithful readers--for once in my life, I just shut up and accepted a difference of opinion.
But then later in the afternoon, a similiar situation happened. Granted, this one was slightly more political--another colleage and I were discussing Stephen Colbert's bid to become president in South Carolina and I said "the only reason the Democratic party took him off the ballot in that state was not because he wouldn't uphold the 'ideals and beliefs' of the party--they were genuinely scared that he would win the delegates! And then we would be in a worse situation than we're in now!"
At which point the woman who sits behind me turned around and said "You haven't offended me with anything you say, but I'd just like to tell you that there's two things we don't talk about here: religion and politics." I tried to explain that Stephen Colbert wasn't a "real" politician, but the conversation was effectively over. To me, I wasn't talking politics, I was just pointing out what everyone knew about a tv personality and his crazy attention-seeking media stunt. But to some people, that was too close to the line. So again, I shut up. Sometimes, I guess, respecting other people's opinions means not saying anything.
I want to engage in debate, but I guess sometimes I invite disparate opinions so I can harass them until they agree to my point of view. (see: every conversation I've had with Grandma since I was nineteen) I need to learn that "debating" means sometimes going away without winning. And that I can't just say I like America because we all have different opinions--I need to let those different opinions thrive. And flourish.
But not here on nickilovesdrama. That's why I have a blog after all, isn't it?