Monday, July 24, 2017

The New Continental Breakfast: Politics and Hashbrowns

This morning, like most Monday mornings, my husband and I met a group of neighbors for breakfast.  Although we’ve moved from our old neighborhood, these are people with whom we keep in touch because we like them. 

Like most weeks the discussion eventually wound up on politics.  Understand, this is a diverse group.  We have feminists, democrats, republicans, concealed carry advocates, vegetarians, and one person who is politically confused…that would be me.

Sometimes the discussion gets lively.  Other times, like today, the conversation might be full of dismay.  It’s never dull, it’s hardly ever shrill, and it sometimes changes the way I look at things because I come away with someone else’s viewpoint to measure against my own.   In short…it’s healthy.

As the coffee pot made the rounds we talked about how politics had become so volatile, severing friendships and dividing families.   For me, I can honestly say many of my long-term friends have been in my life without my ever knowing (or caring) what their politics are.   Every now and then a badge or bumper sticker might show up, there might be some ribbing associated with it, and then the subject was dropped to discuss more important things like kids, house repair and vacations.   I don’t attribute this to the fact that I only associate with politically and intellectually lazy people, I know it to be quite the opposite.

Today it is so easy to be angry; each television channel and radio broadcast is filled with political rants and venomous attacks on every political figure and everyone with whom they’ve ever had a conversation.  The internet is filled with misinformation, ugliness and hatred.  People aren’t just convinced they’re right, they are foaming at the mouth right!  Do unto others has been amended to ‘do it to them first’.  As we left the restaurant I had to pause and wonder how such a group as ours could meet each week and not end up in a food fight.    

Somehow our little group does okay, and I think I have it figured out.  I like these people, and I know them.  Despite any political differences we have I believe I could ask for help from any one of them and they would reach out a hand just as I would for them.  I believe when they make a decision it is based upon a good moral character and a kind heart.  We have a great deal in common; love of family, home and community. The fact that we may differ politically does nothing to convince me that these are anything but good people.  I respect their right to disagree with me, and their opinions more than anything I see on Face Book, in a right/left wing newscast, and more than any political ad.  For the most part we listen to one another, and while we haven’t had an “conversions” we sometimes leave the table with more than we had.  

Unfortunately, our breakfasts won’t cure the problems of this shaking, quaking country or calm the nerves of its citizens.  But, for half a dozen people enjoying breakfast and conversation, it gives us a look into the thoughts and lives of neighbors with whom we may not always agree, but always welcome with care and respect.   It’s a start.

                                                              Life is Good