THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND THE DANGER OF BEING RIGHT
The Presidential election has been over for a week, and I am, like the rest of the American population, just beginning to get over the stress. But while most of us are breathing a sigh of relief from the candidates’ shameful behavior, the blistering political commercials, and the pollsters’ mind-numbing phone calls, I am relieved for a slightly different reason. Politics brings out the beast in me.
And not the good kind of beast, which, for me, would be as a sexy cougar sniffing the air and scenting a young stud drenched in Acqua di Gio.
No, my beast is one who feels in her gut that SHE IS RIGHT.
Oh, I’ve tried to ignore it, dodge it. But it is in my DNA.
I am reminded of Mr. Prosser from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the anxious little man who doesn’t realize he is a direct descendent of Genghis Khan. Even though most of his fierce ancestor’s traits no longer reside in him, Mr. Prosser does have an inexplicable desire to hang a pair of axes over his front door. The thing my forebearers have passed along to me is a strong belief in their political rightness.
It goes back through both my maternal and paternal lines. My father, a mild-mannered CPA, participated in some protests some twenty-five years before the Summer of Love. The strong political opinions on my maternal side go back to my great-grandfather who formed his own militia to fight the Turks, even though his homeland was, at the time, at peace with them. Needless to say, the plan didn’t work and there was a heavy price to pay. He was exiled from his homeland, leaving his wife alone to care for his children.
And so, I have always been careful to keep most of my political opinions to myself or to, at least, politely listen (or pretend to listen) to those who offer their counter-arguments.
But this election year was so difficult. So a few months’ ago, I expressed a political opinion in Facebook. A first for me.
A first, but definitely, my last. Because when I expressed my differing opinion to a friend’s post, she lashed out like a whip. I was in shock. The nicest, most diplomatic, most accommodating, most peaceful woman you could meet now intimated that my opinion was so wrong, it was ridiculous. Or crazy. Or satanic. So, I took a breath and offered a quiet, reasoned explanation, which neither made her change her opinion (she may have been pretending to listen as well) nor cool off. After a couple of more exchanges, we agreed to disagree. I think she took me off as a friend since then.
It took me a couple of days to realize that the desire to BE RIGHT in politics might be something that a lot of people have in their DNA. It makes sense. Look at all the political machinations, treachery, and wars that humanity has been involved with since the beginning of time. Look at America’s sweetheart, Oprah Winfrey who is now taking a lot of flack after the election for tweeting #HopeLives. If Oprah can take the hate of so many people, surely I can survive one little ding from a friend.
I just hope my friend isn’t a descendent of Genghis Khan.