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:
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.