The Silent WedgePosted: October 24, 2008
I went to school today to help out with the Book Fair. My kids have been educated in a Montessori program, and between the two of them, this is the sixth year that we’ve been working with their teacher. (The program runs three years, and they stay in the classroom mixed with 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s. It’s awesome.)
So anyway, I have a pretty good rapport with the teacher. I forget how we started talking politics. It’s been years. Maybe it started with the war, or with the 2004 election, but in terms of political ideals, she and I are fairly simpatico.
There’s also an assistant teacher in the classroom, and I have a good rapport with her as well. I’ve always thought she and I are very much alike. We have the same kind of fashion sense, for better or worse. We both are the type who seeks the solace of comfortable shoes. Today she was even wearing a fleece jacket from Lands End that is the same color and style as one that I have. We’ve laughed together, confided in each other, etc.
So, as we walked with the class, back from the Book Fair, I said something about Obama, and she made a counterpoint about McCain. I thought for a second about what she had said, and what it might mean. She fell back among her students to tend to one of their needs, and Clooney whispered in my ear, “She likes John McCain.”
And I respect that…in theory. But in my heart, I felt a wedge, like suddenly there was this huge difference, this area that had to be avoided or guarded.
This is coming also on the heels of an experience I had on a moms message board. Political discussions have been heated on the boards, nothing derogatory, though some of the McCain supporters have complained. I think they mostly have felt ganged-up on, as the bulk of the comments were made by Obama supporters. Though, to be fair, the Obama supporters were just pointing out inaccuracies in the McCain supporters’ posts about things like Obama’s ties to Islam and terrorists, the definition of socialism, etc.
A few weeks ago, the moderator got into it and told us all to basically “play nice.” Again though, I want to stress that if anything derogatory was said, I never read it. So then, I guess, one of the McCain supporters posted a thread that asked for responses only from McCain supporters, and the Obama supporters felt slighted. The moderator got involved again and separated us all into our respective corners. Any kind of dissenting opinion is seen as antagonistic, I guess. I think it’s just a shame that this is the state of our political discourse.
Edison and I carved this pumpkin together. We don’t claim to be professionals with the carving knives, but we did have a lot of fun doing it: