Less than two weeks out from a very big and historic election I am relieved to be coming to an end of my own personal political dilemma. It’s not about who gets my vote, but with whom I can freely dish about it. Clearly, it’s no secret who I support. I openly wear my politics on my Tahari pantsuits or Juicy sweats depending on the day of the week. But my politics recently has cost me a couple of friendships or at least tempered them after shocking revelations that someone whom I adore and respect is actually not on my team. So while I’ve always prided myself on being a non judgmental friend, I’m embarrassed to admit that several relationships have chilled because of their unseemly admissions of supporting the GOP. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Politics this cycle has turned friends into frenemies.
So during this two-year long marathon of a political season, I’ve been more closeted about exactly how I feel. The primary was a rough time with many of my teammates splitting up among the ranks. But there was still a sense of solidarity being members of the same tribe. However after some friends ‘fessed up to rooting for the opposing team, no matter how much I tried to get beyond it, I just literally couldn’t get the elephant out of the room. So depending on the company, I’ve learned to curb the political chit chat.
Maybe that’s simply the cultured thing to do. After all, isn’t there a social rule that politics and money should never be discussed among friends? But in an election year with the markets crashing, if you take those two topics off the table what’s left – the weather?
Perhaps it’s a girl thing, but it does seem that being aggressively or even overtly political seems impolite. It makes people uncomfortable – particularly girlfriends who disagree.
I’m always intrigued about how those ladies on The View do it. While I may disagree with Elisabeth Hasselbeck on her conservative politics, I’m always impressed by how she tries to hold her own while getting bullied by the rest of the girls at the ABC coffee klutch. And while I also appreciate the heated discussions that get Elisabeth so riled that the veins in her neck look like they are going to burst all over Joy Behar, I’m truly fascinated by how those women can transition from total cat fight (I say this with complete respect) to cheerful conversation right after a commercial break. Do they all hug, take ten breaths, and drink some Chardonnay in the Green Room after each show? I get tense just by watching them.
Fortunately for me I can be less guarded at work about my politics. I still have some Hillary bumper stickers posted on my bulletin board next to my favorite bumper slogan “Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History” which hangs across from a very staged and unattractive photo of me and Hillary. So while politics and The Office generally don’t mix, my workplace appreciates political passion and experience and employs plenty of former politicos who are obsessed with the latest poll numbers and Tina Fey sketches. So ironically, I’m less concerned about offending colleagues or clients than I am my suburban neighbors and friends.
So on November 4th, I’d love to throw a fabulous Election night party to watch the returns and watch Tom Brokaw in his glory speculating on what all of this means for our nation. But who can I invite, only my friends or my frenemies too? As Barack Obama says, “we are not red states or blue states, we are the United States of America. This may be true, but for many reasons, I cannot wait for November 5th to come.