Saturday, August 30, 2008


I have a confession to make; the Olympics bore me. While the rest of the nation was glued to the TV set a few weeks ago I only glanced at it on occasion. The gymnasts were pretty, the volleyball girls in the sand were silly, and yes, Michael Phelps can sure swim but none of it really holds my interest. (By the way, was anyone else repelled by Michael Phelps when he does that frat-boy victory yell and screams like Tom Cruise in "Top Gun"?)

But give me a good old fashioned political convention and I am in my glory. I watched nearly all the coverage of the Democratic convention and not just that CNN crap where the announcers keep talking over the speeches but the boring as dust, unfiltered coverage that PBS brought us. I was rapt from the first to the last speech every night. This week I'll be watching too. Not as raptly but I'll be there to see Sarah Pallin try to explain why we should vote for a woman who can barely keep her trailer in order.

It's all good fun, entertaining, and more importantly--important.

I'm a bit of a political junkie I guess. I majored in poli sci in college and I like to follow the political scene especially in an election year. Jeff says he doesn't know why I don't get involved in politics but I know why; while it is great fun to watch and study I would not want to be inside of it all and see the ugliness. You know, I'm a sausage lover and all but....I'm not sure why people make this leap anyway--does anyone tell the lover of Broadway musicals they should audition? Do I suggest that because he loves college football he should go volunteer to schlepp water to the players? No. Let me watch and talk and keep my distance.

I also like to talk politics but it isn't easy to find people to do that with around here. For some reason, they take the old adage "It isn't polite to discuss politics and religion" quite seriously. This is a mystery to me. It's not that way where I grew up in Michigan. There we are regularly impolite and discussed politics fairly openly and frequently.

I don't know why things would be so different here. I'm quite sure in this town just 15 miles from Chicago (also known as "the machine" as in political machine and "the windy city" not because of the gusts that come off of Lake Michigan but because of the hot air our politicians blow) that most of the people here are a phone call away from the mayor or a legislator. But they are NOT interested in talking about it.

Even on the Fourth of July I could not stir up one single comment when I deliberately tried to be provocative by wearing my Barack Obama t-shirt to a barbecue. Not ONE!

I can't even figure out why we're told it's not polite.

Is it because we might disagree? That's silly; it's like telling Cubs and Sox fans it's not polite to discuss baseball or stay-at-home moms and full-time working moms not to discuss child rearing.

Is it because people don't care? I find that hard to believe. Only a very naive or ignorant person believes that who's in the White House doesn't directly affect his or her life (federal income taxes, Roe v. Wade, declaring war, you get the idea) and the people I hang with are not naive or ignorant.

At any rate, I say, the heck with that old adage about not discussing politics. If I'm in the room, bring it. I don't care if you're an Obama mama or a McCain fan or even a nutty Ralph Nader supporter, just come informed and come talk to me.

Now more than ever, with us poised to elect either our first African-American president or our first female vice-president, this is an election to get excited about, to find out more about, and yes you polite North Shore ladies, to talk about.

To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, if you don't have anything political to say, don't sit by me.


  1. Good Lord, Judy. Don't you remember the near knock-down, drag-out fight in my kitchen during our Christmas Party held in the middle of the 2000 election fiasco? It was that at point I swore off talking politics with anyone but my husband. It's not about being impolite, it's about the blood on my kitchen floor.

    Ann C.

  2. Yes, it is really an exciting election year. Whether it is the first African-American president or first female vice-president....who represents the "all american family"... it is historic. Before we go too far about "her trailer".....what family does not have all the concerns of the Palin family...regardless of their political leanings....including yours. At this point in time, I am not sure which way I'll cast my vote. Yes, let's talk. But we don't have to agree.

  3. Judy, I'm exactly the same way. I watched both conventions--the Dem one with rapt attention every night (on PBS or CSPAN) and the GOP one until I couldn't stand it any more. And I too would love to feel welcome to talk politics (or even religion) more openly and wish others felt the same. I too wore an Obama t-shirt to a neighborhood event hoping to stir some conversation, but no bites. By the way, I'm in Michigan and the problem is more a sign of the times than the place, I think. No one here talks politics with casual friends like I recall doing (or watching my parents do) when I was younger. Luckily I can get my fix online at various blogs and forums.

  4. I actually enjoy talking politics, but I find that it only is fun for a short time. Either I talk with someone who agrees with me (boring)or I talk with some one who doesn't agree with me. Problem is when people don't see eye to eye, it can get ugly. People react as though it is their very selves that you don't like... not the people they want to vote for. Hurt feelings occur, people turn red in the face, and any sense of humor has diminished. What fun is that? Talking politics seems to bring out the sour puss in to many people, and who wants to discuss anything with a sour puss?

  5. I've been making efforts to wear two Obama pins- one to wear one to share. I usually attract a pro-Obama crowd, especially when I wear my buttons, and then I give one of them to my new Democratic "friend."