Saturday, January 26, 2008

Other People's Candidates are like Other People's Boyfriends

Edited to add the following context: I originally wrote this as a diary on the community blog for democrats called DailyKos. On that site, there is an epidemic of candidate-bashing, so violent that lately if you say anything pro-Hillary, you get a railroad spike in the eye. This blog/diary was in response to that problem. So, it's only meant to address and enlighten fellow treehugging librulls, not friends who are republicans or independents! If you are a republican or independent, you are welcome and encouraged to bash Hillary to me all day! :) :) Because you don't have to vote for her if she ends up the nominee, obviously. You can vote for your guy. As long as it's not Mitt Romney.

Who hasn't been in this situation? Your friend is dating a guy you find repulsive. You think he's politically backward, or he has a career you don't respect, or maybe you even caught him ogling a waitress while your friend was in the bathroom. Or... your friend supports a candidate you despise. You think he's a weak golfer, or she's a closet cannibal, or he's soft on redwoods, or she's got cankles. What do you do?

I'll tell you what you don't do, if you're smart. You don't march up to your friend and tell her, "Your boyfriend is a lying cheating ugly racist whoremongering bastard and marrying him will ruin your life."

Why? Three reasons:

1. That friend's boyfriend may become that friend's husband. Now you become the enemy. You're now the jerk that talked mean about her man, and it's them against the world, and you were (obviously) so wrong about him and how can she ever trust your opinion on anything again? True, they may be doomed. He may truly be a jerk. He may ruin her life and she may ditch him in six months. But saying "I told you so" isn't going to go far to heal your relationship with her.

That friend's candidate might become your party's nominee. What then? You either have to now eat everything you said and vote for this guy/gal, or you have to stick nobly to your opinion, and write in your mother. Whatever you do about the voting, consider where you now stand with your friend. Is she gloating? Are you bitter? Is this helping?

2. You cannot change your friend's mind by getting nasty. If you feel you must state the facts, to protect her from certain disaster, then quietly state the facts. But remember: she is in love. Love is blind. Candidate-love can be like this too. Lashing out against the candidate will most likely only make her love him/her more.

People might be convinced to switch teams by facts, by records, by ideas, by well-reasoned arguments. No one sane is going to switch teams because of name-calling and crabbiness.

3. You respect your friend. Your friend loves him, and you don't. But you love your friend! And you think she's pretty smart! You haven't known your friend to eat shards of glass, or sleep on railroad tracks, or watch "Making the Band" or anything else self-destructive and idiotic, so... maybe there's something there that you don't see. You could be wrong. If you truly respect your friend, or your fellow dem, you have to accept that their support for candidate X might not be motivated out of malice or lunacy, but out of reasonable belief in that person's ability to govern.

It's hard to have cocktails and sushi with someone whose boyfriend you've described as the devil incarnate. And when it comes to this election, the party has yet to begin. I want to be able to sit at any table, without worrying about who heard me talking smack in the bathroom.

1 comment:

  1. So it's okay if I want to talk about how great Huckabee is, right? I mean, what could be better than a right wing Christian president? I think I'll go sew my ^@>!^@ closed now...