Tuesday, May 5, 2009

When Politics Trump Family

So, tonight I have some questions for you. Do you and your family (extended) share similar religious and/or political beliefs? If not, how do you handle those differences? Do you silently agree to disagree? Do you have knock down, drag out disagreements? Do you have mutually respecful conversations about those differences? Do you refuse to discuss religion or politics with them at all? Are the differences divisive?

I guess the lesson I have come to learn the hard and frustrating way is that religion and politics don't mix well in a family where people have drastically different views. In the past few months I have bowed out of discussions that involve politics or religion with certain members of my extended family (I will say that 80 percent of us share the same views on both politics and religion, so it's a small minority). It's just not worth it to me to cause hurt feelings or attack someone for believing differently and I really don't like feeling attacked for my beliefs.

I guess the bigger question is how you would handle it if you were constantly barraged with political criticism after repeatedly asking to be left out of political discussions. I am at a loss and for the sake of harmony am trying my hardest to not just walk away from it all. There are other people who would be hurt by that decision, my children mostly, and I am not selfish enough to allow my children to suffer the consequences of adults behaving badly.


Nancy said...

In my family, I we are all almost of the same mind when it comes to politics and religion. None of us are staunch anything and we really all seem to have the ability to listen to all sides. Don't know how since we're generally all so opinionated!!
Can you change the subject when political and religious discussions come up? Can you say "let's change the subject!". It sounds like you are being baited or dragged into discussions. Can you leave the room at that time? if you're mother's around can you get her to support you?
Maybe if you pick the kids up and go home a couple of times when it starts, they will get the message and tone it down when you all get together. Just some thoughts!

Joanne said...

That's a tough one, I guess I'd just ask that we agree that we disagree, and leave the subject behind. If someone continues to persist, I'd probably politely bow out and leave. Leaving seems better than a heated argument.

Moxymama said...

Nancy, that is nice that you all are able to listen to all sides. I'd have to say the majority of us are the same way and more moderate than really aligned with any specific party. HOwever, there are a few members who are so far to the right they are even a minority in the GOP. Their personal views don't bother me at all; it's the person assaults levied on everyone else's views that has become exhausting. Your suggestions are great and while "changing the subject" hasn't worked I think leaving will at least remove me from an uncomfortable situation. So, thanks!!!!
Joanne, I agree that leaving is better than the argument and I just need to be more resolute and start doing that since every gathering turns into a political diatribe while the rest of us sit there quietly offended. Thanks to you both for your suggestions. They are great.