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11/3/08

for the last time, a gentle reminder.

In my Behavior Management class in school, we are learning about rules. There are rules for making classroom rules. Did you know that? Neither did I.

But I've always sort of liked rules. I like structured things, and I find myself making rules for situations that probably don't need rules. For example, it is a rule in my life that I will never, ever, drink a beverage at a restaurant without a straw. Germs.

So naturally, I love Emily Post. So many rules! Rules for thank-you cards, rules for being a good overnight guest. Rules!

It seems though, that lately, we have forgotten one of the very most important rules, the rule that trumps the rules about thank you cards and raising your hand before speaking:

Be nice.

All the time. Even during an election. Even when you are CONVINCED that if your candidate of choice is not elected, you will DIE and it will be all the other person's fault.

It seems we need a reminder about how to "be nice" in an election. Since I don't believe Ms. Post has covered this, I will assist you.

1. It is not nice to invite someone into your home, and use it as an opportunity to bash their political beliefs. They are a guest in your home. Treat them nicely. If you are managing to engage in a civil political discussion, and it turns less than nice: STOP. It isn't worth ruining a relationship in an effort to convince your friend or relative that Obama is a terrorist.

2. It is unkind to go into a home, knowing that the residents disagree with you politically, and begin criticizing their politics in their home. It would be considered rude to go into someones home and insult the decorations (heinous as you may find them,) Why would it be okay to do so with politics?

3. Regardless of your location, refrain from making snide, under-your-breath remarks about politics. If you truly want to engage in a discussion, be a grown-up, and say so. Don't simply mutter sarcastic remarks about mavericks or socialists at the end of your sentences. You don't look clever or smart, you look silly, and most of all, it isn't nice.

For some reason, many people seem to have developed the thought that meanness is a necessary evil when discussing politics. It isn't. There is no excuse to harangue someone about Proposition 8 until they cry.

Lastly, consider two more things the next time you engage in a heated discussion-

What is your goal?
What is the result?

It doesn't matter if your goal was to change someones mind if the result is hurting their feelings. It just doesn't.





I expect a call from Good Housekeeping any day now. I've totally put Emily out of a job.

11 comments:

JustMe said...

MCB - YOU ROCK! It’s a shame that something so obvious would need to be pointed out. If you have any manners at all you should know you never insult guests in your home, and your guests should be well bred enough not to insult you.

There is an old adage that says that 3 subjects that should never be discussed in polite company are:
1 - Politics
2 - Religion
3 - Money (as in "how much do you make")

Actually, I'm not sure #3 is correct - it could have been sex that you don't discuss. I'm sure someone will enlighten me on this.

If I like you enough to invite you to my house, I should like you enough to respect your political choice.

Sue said...

Yesterday I went visiting teaching. My partner and the lady I visit teach know that I'm a democrat, and they also know that I don't like to talk about politics with my friends (who are almost all Republicans) - because it never leads anywhere productive or good. But they spent a good five minutes trying to get me to defend my presidential pick, and when I wouldn't play, spent another five minutes explaining exactly what was wrong with said pick.

It was incredibly frustrating. I kept trying to lighten the mood with little jokes about how I wasn't going to say a word, but by the end of the visit - ugh.

GEE, I CAN'T WAIT FOR NEXT MONTH.

Marianna & Trevor Eckman said...

I'M STEALING THIS POST AND POSTING IT ON MINE BECAUSE I'M 100% WITH YOU ON THIS ONE! BEING NICE RULES!

~j. said...

Preach it.

KT said...

Okay, but what if you're right and the other person is an idiot? :-)

Just kidding. But seriously. I like debates, but I don't like debates when things turn personal; more often than not someone is left stranded without a ride home.

Mrs. Clark said...

Hear, hear. This is true no matter what is the subject of disagreement.

Kimbooly said...

Thank you, Emily, I mean Stephanie, for your great "Post" post.

Good manners is what the gospel is about. It's not ok to drop Christ-like attitudes to push politics.

In college I was a front desk receptionist for the political science dept. at BYU, and enjoyed the offerings of both the democrat and republican professors there.

Similarly, I have been grateful that as I've talked with many friends here in CA who are against prop 8, I've never felt like anyone tried to push their view. They were open with me, and I with them, and I felt like we respected each other's views at the end of our conversations.

If someone's out there making a prop 8 opposer cry, that is the VERY TYPE of THING that ends up promoting the "bigotry/hatred/intolerance" prop 8 claims that so many people here in CA are trying desperately to prove are usually not true.

Katie said...

Amen. Amen. And amen! (Is it sacrilegeous to say amen to something not religious? Hope not because I say it all the time.)

To #3 I would add that muttering under your breath also makes it appear that you might suffer from slight schizophrenia.

And I would add #4. Never, under any circumstances, ever should Sunday School or Relief Society be used for a forum to discuss which candidate is a good example to follow and which is a bad example.

I wish I could say the last was a hypothetical.

katieo said...

You'll like this. I promise.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/10/30/greene-if-you-can’t-or-can-say-anything-nice/

Ben said...

You're so kooky. How can you take Emily Post's job when she is long dead? We're talking almost 50 years. In other news, I'm coming to the casa de los Nielsons tomorrow evening. Be there or be square.

Bryan and Sarah said...

This is great! Be a nice above all. A good reminder.