Thursday, January 27, 2011

You're A Republican Aren't You?

First – let me start by saying that this post is not intended to a platform for me to preach my political opinions.  It isn’t intended as a bash on our nation’s current leadership or any political party.  I’m simply sharing a revelation that I had yesterday.

While browsing my FB newsfeed yesterday morning I noted a rather strange status update from one of my best friends (we’ll call her EBT).  It read, “Mr. Obama, I got you!”  I’ve been friends with EBT for seven years and although she has never expressly stated it, I’m almost positive she’s a democrat – but still, this status intrigued me.  So I shot her a text.

Me:  So why exactly do you “got” Mr. Obama?
EBT:  Umm…you’re a republican – right?
I was tempted to reply, “EBT – we’ve been friends for seven years.  You know I’m a Southern Baptist pastor’s daughter from Alabama and that I married Steven (if you knew my husband - you would understand)…..of course I’m a republican!”  But I’ve been trying to avoid stereotyping lately – so instead I simply said…
Me: Yes.
EBT: Well, I’m a democrat – so I was just saying that I agree with what Obama said in his speech last night.  And I guess this means we can’t be friends anymore!
I was tempted to reply, “EBT – you’re a teacher from Boston of course you’re a democrat.” But again…stereotypes….so I replied….
Me:  I see.  I agree that he made some valid points.  I don’t exactly think he said anything new – but rather simply admitted that somehow we have allowed things to go too far and we have to find a solution to the problems facing Americans – but again, that’s not exactly anything new.  And of course we can be friends!
EBT:  True.  I agree with some things that republicans believe – it’s just that I believe that we should all do our part to help those in need.  I believe that we all have a responsibility to one another. 
Me:  I’m not a republican based on religious or social reasons.  Don’t get me wrong, I obviously agree with the republican party on conservative issues; however, I know how often I fail in my faith and how rarely I live the lifestyle that I should according to my faith so I have a very difficult time believing that politics should dictate lifestyle choices for others.  I’m a republican based on pure economical beliefs.  I’m a capitalist!  Allow the markets to regulate themselves.
EBT:  And I agree with many points the republicans make.  I’m not all democratic.  But it’s rather hard to work in the education system and not be a democrat.  To see the needs of others and not support government programs.
Me:  Don’t get me wrong.  I absolutely believe that we have a responsibility to help those in need.  I just believe that help should come from charitable organizations and the private sector – not the government.  I believe that if the government decreased those programs and as a result decreases taxes levied on Americans and increased tax incentives for contributing to charitable organizations designed to provide relief to those in need then we would be able to provide better programs and more assistance than the government currently does.  That may sound too ideal – but I at least believe there should be more restrictions placed on welfare programs to ensure the truly needy are being helped.
EBT:  Oh I completely agree that the system needs a major overhaul – many times it the wrong people entirely who receive aid – but at least something is being done.  But you may know more about this than I do…..
Me: Hey!  At least you watched the address and are trying to stay up on current events!
Me: If only our husbands could see us now!!!

And that was pretty much the end of our intelligent conversation.  It surprised me though.  Like I said, I’ve known for years (or at least suspected) how EBT felt about certain issues.  As a result, I’ve always avoided topics regarding religion & politics.  I guess it was for a fear of offending her or seeming like the “pushy conservative”.  I mean – this is one of my best friends.  I share details about the most intimate aspects of my life with her: my marriage, my family, my career, my sex life – and not once have I thought twice about any of it. 

So why in the world am I afraid to talk about the other factors that make me who I am?  My conservative ideals – whether they be political or religious.  Why do so many women fall back on talk about celebrity gossip, recipes, latest fashion trends or the new miracle product.  I mean – just look at our blogs – look at my blog!

I’m not saying we all need to blast our opinions as if they were the gospel or that we need to write weekly posts about our take on the current political climate – but I’m starting to realize that there is a way that you can express your opinion without being condescending or overbearing.  It is okay to disagree with “the other side” but at least have the conversation!  You may just find that you have more in common with “the other side” than you think and you might actually gain a new appreciation and respect for your friends!


Jamie said...

I love this post and that you spoke up to your friend- or at least started up a real conversation about the issues!! I never seem to have a problem sharing my political beliefs (very conservative) but I really wish more people dug deeper than just what the President promises. I see a lot of people who just think they love Obama so they're a Democrat without any regard for the issues or what's actually going on in the country. Kudos!

Michelle (michabella) said...

I LOVE THIS! And that you stood up. I love that both of you stated your beliefs and both didnt bash each other. So many people will just argue and hate on others for their beliefs. We should all be understanding and not judgemental about it. I hate politics. But I am right there with you on your Republican beliefs. <333

Sarah Beth - Dixie Gator Gal said...

Great post! I really value and enjoy intelligent political conversation, and hearing others opinions. I had a great chat with my one of besties last night just like yours. Living in DC, I never talk about politics because everyone here is die hard one way or the other, where I find myself totally in the middle. Economically very conservative-Capitalism all the way, but socially very liberal even though I am personally socially conservative. Thanks for sharing-I too am a southern baptist PK.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I definitely am one of those that do not talk about religion or belief with others. I respect other's opinions, of course (I especially respect those willing to stand up for what they believe), but sometimes those topics can get HEATED and I don't deal well in that area, lol!


Miss Southern Vol said...

LOVE the everyday blogging and love this post! We really should be able to express our opinions and beliefs regarding politics where we often hide our opinions which is wrong! I am the strange one off southern girl from private school who is democrat and I always feel like i cant express my opinions or belief. I'm "still in the closet" on those subjects! Soo glad you posted this :) Happy ALMOST end of the week!

Christina said...

Isn't it nice when we can have a grown up conversation about things like this! It's perfectly acceptable to agree to disagree and be courteous about it! I appreciate this post! Thanks for writing it!

Ashley said...

I like how you said that you can talk about it without being too pushy. That's the reason that talking about politics is scary. Too many people feel too strongly about some issues and they will shove it down your throat instead of taking time to listen to why you believe the way you do. The conversation between you and your friend was so great! You both said why you believe the way you do, but the other did not get offended. I don't often talk politics, because I'm afraid of losing friends simply because of how I believe.

Laura said...

way to respect each other, and have an open conversation about our government and politics! that is so rare today, people get easily offended and are so closed minded to other people's political beliefs!

p.s. LOL'd at the "you're a teacher from Boston, of course you are democrat!" As a bostonian myself, and a registered INDEPENDENT, that statement is so hilarious to me. stereotypes can be funny, because they can be very true :)

PinkLouLou said...

Amber, this is fantastic. Way to go sister. SUCH a well written post. Conversations about Politics tend to get SO emotional and SO intense that it is often hard to have them period. I know I get emotional about my political beliefs, and it is so refreshing to see two intelligent women discuss their opinions without being nasty, or getting angry. You make me proud, ha!


Rissy said...

I am ashamed to say I am pretty much politically ignorant... so sad isn't it? ugh I am the stereotype that makes other countries hate us!

Sarah said...

Love it!! I think it's awesome that you texted her pretty much knowing her beliefs. There is no reason you can't be friends with someone who doesn't vote exactly the way you do! And you're right, if we can talk to our friends about the most intimate details of our lives we should most definitely be able to talk about politics and religion!

Megan said...

Love this post!! I'm so glad that y'all were able to discuss this without arguing or offending each other!! : ) You are right. We should not shy away from discussing our values, ideals, and beliefs. We should just make sure we discuss them politely.

Jessica said...

Politics can be a sticky subject, I'm glad you voiced your opinion and had an intellectual conversation about it! That's very hard for me to do, I always see two sides to every story and don't like to debate. That makes talking politics VERY difficult. Haha!

Meg O. said...

I love how you interacted with your friend, particularly after she said that you couldn't be friends. Whether that was a joke or not, it was kind of rude (in my opinion... maybe because I don't know her). Anyway, I'm all about expression and really owning up to who you are. I'm a theatre teacher, for goodness sake! Haha! I have so many different kind of kids who need a place to express who they really are, and they are all so different from one another. They are taught to give each other constructive criticism and positive criticism at all times and it really helps them respectfully treat one another and respectfully argue when they disagree. I'm really glad you stood up for what you believed in and WITH CLASS!! What irks me the most is how un-classy and distasteful people can be when discussing political issues. But you make me proud! Woo hoo!

PinkLouLou said...

girl! I am SO an email on my profile kinda girl!!! I even did a post on those pesky non-reply@blogger.comer's. HA! I think I may have been singed in under my PinkLouLou designs account when I posted on your blog earlier which is why you got the non reply, oopsies!!!

xoxox puffy pink hearts! haha

everyone calls me bon bon said...

Thanks for you lovely comment:-) Your blog is super cute!

This post is so true! I think being a Republican sometimes classifies me as someone who is close-minded. I absolutely love having conversations about politics/religion though. It's a way to learn! No one is perfect and the world will never be perfect.

Sonya said...

This is great! I was just talking to my friend on the way home yesterday (I'm a teacher, she's a school speech/language specialist) and we were discussing something very similar. I don't fall to the Democrat side even with being a teacher. I always laugh when the union sends me stuff because I don't vote for their choices most of the time!

Anonymous said...

Meg O, This is the friend who she is referring to in this blog. We have been best friends for almost 7 years now. So for you to read text messages that Amber has put into her blog and then say I was rude to my friend, is just rude of you! In no way do you know me, or know the context I was writing that text in, and frankly you do not know our friendship. And, those text messages were not 100% accurate, at the end of that particular message I put a smile. In no way would Amber, knowing our friendship and her knowing me would she be offended by that comment, so why is someone blogger calling me rude? You state in your comment to this blog that Amber was classy in how she stated her political views, and she was, so why don't you model yourself after her a little and be classy when you post a comment. If you do not know the whole situation, or know exactly what happened, or know NOTHING of the person you are commenting about, do not put criticism, especially negative one's.

Brittany Ann said...

1. I agree with you wholeheartedly on so many points.

2. I had had this EXACT SAME CONVO w/a close friend of mine - a teacher in NYC, oddly enough - who I also normally avoid political/religious topics with.

3. Glad I'm not the only one who reads up on the issues but rarely vocalizes about them:)

Good for you for eloquently supporting what so many of us believe!

brittany said...

love this post! so so so true!

i am so guilty of taking everything I've been really working on LISTENING too and not just popping off at the mouth...which I'm known for. as if you couldn't tell, i'm democrat but hubby is republican and it's always fun--and lively--to converse about political issues :)

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