Relationships and Politics

A friend of mine went out on a date with a SUV-driving, Fox News-watching conservative Republican. I wonder if he shouts at his television set or gets angry when people impugn his man?

I made the mistake of commenting:

Reminds me of an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm which I never saw because the last time I had television was when a room mate would watch Fox News on it. With a name like “GB”, I guess his political leanings are understandable. Does he go by his middle initial, “W”?

My brother once told me that he thought young Republicans were pathetic because as you got older you can always get more conservative—I blew that idea out of the water by getting more liberal…

You should’ve taken a picture of him for posterity before his species becomes extinct.

Bad Terry, never comment your political leanings on someone else’s blog! Bad! Bad!

Why watch Fox News?

In any case, one person asked why someone would watch Fox News? Having had Fox News on in the background for over a year, I can say that there is little entertainment value from my perspective in it. Normally, I like to have a television on as background noise while I worked, but I would get so disgusted I’d have to leave and work in my room sometimes.

I think most people watch it to confirm their world view and Fox News is a product that satisfies that need, not one that serves some hidden agenda.

Lessons from our parents

During the Vietnam War, my father was a “hawk” and my mother a “dove”—my mother used to vote only to “cancel” my father’s vote. Such things were understandable from their differing perspectives of the Japanese occupation and the Korean War. Besides, an accurate overview of what was really happening was hard to come by—serious criticism of the War didn’t start until 1968 and the NSA’s account of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution is still stifled today.

Later my father would say he was wrong. He survived two wars as a child and had to help engineer the escape of his family from Pyongyang when he was nine years old. Given the wealth of evidence today and how my (and GB’s is similar) life has been devoid of hardship, is it likely for this man to be so likely to change his world view?

Maybe such things are a “match made in heaven” and “opposites attract” but perhaps great relationships may lie not in if they argue, but how they resolve those arguments, and the key to that is empathy.

In the end, my father could see how he was different from his wife and how her experiences were more relevant that time than his. Their relationship flourished, even though there was never a quiet moment.

As for me, I share more empathy with those who might be asked to die or send their children off to die for a lie than I do for those who don’t, even if they were, like me, born with a silver spoon and given a prep school education. I have no empathy to spare for such people who have none to spare for others.

That is why I could never do was my friend Esther did. And because I never suffered and will never suffer the hardships of my parents, I don’t think I could have changed my political viewpoint, if I didn’t have this viewpoint all along: we bear responsibility for the world we create.

Final thought

For those of you in a relationship where your political views are diametric with your other half, I have only this to say:

I hope you can overcome those differences in such a manner that your other can look on your death with the love my father had for my mother. She almost died on the operating table, but God gave them an extra year and a half—the arguments never stopped, but neither did the love.

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