On November 6, the Web Goddess and I will walk down the hill to the Presbyterian church and fulfill our solemn civic duty of canceling each other out at the polls.
It’ll be the third straight election where we support different candidates.Â This, combined with my ongoing political advocacy on this blog, makes for some careful conversations at home.
But never anything heated — we don’t “do” acrimony. She’s my summer love in the spring, fall and winter, and I’m sure as hell not going to let differences over healthcare policy or the war in Iraq come between us.
In online forums where I’ve disclosed my “mixed marriage,” I’ve had Republicans ask “how can you stand living with a Democrat”?Â Well, I was a lifelong Democrat before becoming a 9-11 Republican — we both supported Mr. Gore in 2000.Â I’ve seen demonization of “the other” from both sides, and it’s ugly from any perspective.Â Liberalism and conservatism are both vibrant and essential strains of thought, and each deserves its champions in the clash of ideas.Â That’s why on this blog I try, with perhaps mixed success, to treat opposing ideas with respect.Â We’ve gotta be able to talk with each other.
Perhaps the most prominent example of opposing viewpoints within a marriage is James Carville and Mary Matalin — although a friend just nominated Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver.Â Carville was the campaign manager for Bill Clinton in 1992, while Matalin was a senior campaign adviser to George H.W. Bush.Â A year after the election they got married, had two kids, and by all accounts they’ve been happily married for more than two decades.Â (Schwarzenegger and Shriver, not so much, although that had more to do with adultery than politics.)
At the end of the day, of course, as residents of New Jersey it doesn’t matter who either of us votes for.Â The Founders in their wisdom created the Electoral College, which means your vote is meaningless if you live in a lopsided state.Â No, I’m not bitter — I generally support the idea of federalism, and the Electoral College comes with the package.Â So on November 6, the Web Goddess and I will tune in while the election is settled by the good citizens of Ohio, Virginia and [shudder] Florida.Â And on November 7 we’ll wake up grateful for the blessings in our lives.
(Photo by Ray Folkman — our neighbor)