You know that old axiom? There are three things you should never discuss with friends or lovers: religion, politics, and.... i think the third was pizza topppings?
Well, I don't generally subscribe to that rule. I respect my friends. I depend on them for advice. And I generally think of my boys as intelligent, sensible, interesting, all around great guys, and as such, I really value their opinions when it comes to all the important things in life: Do you believe in god? Who are you gonna vote for? Does this make me look trashy?

So I generally don't hold that old axiom to be true. If there's anyone with whom you should be discussing religion & politics, it's those you care about most-- those whose thoughts, viewpoints & opinions you most respect or desire to understand.
But I wonder, if there really are times when it's best not to intrude into the realm of vital truths?

Recently, I got into a bit of a tiff with my boyfriend, Daniel. He brought up a biography he had read about Hillary Clinton and started talking about how shady he thinks she is and that he definitely hopes Barrack Obama wins the nomination. In his words, "If Hillary wins, it'll just be politics as usual."

I was fine with all of that. In fact, people usually DON'T agree with me when it comes to politics, and I don't take it personally if their viewpoint is completely different from mine. But the next thing he said was in reference to Hillary's recent comments about Bobby Kennedy, citing why she's not dropping out of the running for the Democratic presidential nomination yet. Daniel (the BF) said that it makes him sick. He honestly thinks that Hillary hopes Barrack will be shot by some nutjob, and even went so far as to insinuate that she made those comments in the hopes of actually inciting and encouraging said nutjob to carry out the act.

I personally believe that she stuck her foot in her mouth. She wasn't comparing Kennedy to Obama, which is an important point. She wasn't actively suggesting that Obama might be shot and then she'd have the nomination. Actually, she didn't mention Obama at all. She was answering a question on the spur of the moment, using the incidences that came to mind of Democratic primaries that had altogether unlooked for results. Namely, the first ones that came to her mind were her husband's primary, and the assasination of Bobby Kennedy. Kennedy's primary might be one that would come to any of our minds. In fact, I can't name events that took place in ANY OTHER Democratic primary race outside of Bobby Kennedy's. Can You? The general public generally just doesn't give a shit about such things.

I personally feel that it was a moment of carelessness on her part. She didn't carefully think through her comments before saying them; didn't consider the knee-jerk reaction that a comment about Bobby Kennedy could garner in a political race with a black (mixed) candidate. A slip like that's bound to happen in a contest where every word and comment is carefully weighed and scrutinized. Obama and Clinton can't cough or shake a fart out without somebody filming it and sticking it up on youtube.

All of this is beside the point.

The point is that, with Daniel and I, one thing led to another and before we knew it, we were having a major argument. Not a debate, but an argument. You can always tell when a discussion has crossed the line from debate into argument when your original objective of developing your own understanding and opinion through intelligent discourse with another suddenly morphs into an attempt to 'beat' the other person by proving them 'wrong'.
We managed to take a step back and cease the bickering before either of us had sustained more than mildly bruised feelings-- thanks in part to a well-timed menstrual reference on my part, and brilliant topic-changing strategies on his.

But the whole thing left me with an acrid taste in my mouth. It wasn't just because I felt perturbed by his opinion on Hilary's comments-- although I still think he's being a bit sensationalist. But really, I felt unsettled by our inability to have a political discussion without dragging our tempers and egos into it. What does that say about how we relate to each other? Does it mean that we're inherently incompatible? Is it a sign of future impassioned arguments to come? I mean, if we can't talk about Hilary and Barrack without hurting each other, how are we ever going to be able to discuss things that are truly personal in nature?

Does the petulant way in which we handled ourselves in a discussion about the democratic primaries mean we can't make a relationship work? Does it mean we'll be unable to get along with one another in the long run?

Or, am I completely over-analyzing it?

Arguments happen in relationships. Sometimes they don't go so well-- especially in the beginning of a relationship when you're still learning how the other person needs to be handled. Maybe politics IS the one thing that we just shouldn't talk about?
Don't all relationships have those certain topics that should NOT under any circumstances be broached under penalty of pointless arguments and piqued tempers? With one previous boyfriend, the forbidden topic was (predictably) religion. For another, it was how The Ramones' songs all sound pretty much the same. For several others, any discussion of Exes was deemed taboo.
Perhaps, with Daniel and I, politics is the one topic that raises our tempers and makes us act like bratty school kids calling each other "stupid-head".

I suppose the real test will be to see how we handle our other disagreements and whether or not they proliferate. We're only two months in and we've already had our fair share of misunderstandings, two serious discussions, and one all-out argument. It doesn't bode well, but it could all be due the stress of beginning a relationship while being separated by half the planet-- I'm back home in the states while he's finishing up his study abroad term in Japan.

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