Don't have an account? To participate in discussions consider signing up or signing in
facebook connect
Sign-up, its free! Close [x]

Benefits

  • okay Create lasting relationships with other like minded women.
  • okay Blogging, let your voice be heard!
  • okay Interact with other women through blogs,questions and groups.
  • okay Photo Album, upload your most recent vacation pictures.
  • okay Contests, Free weekly prize drawing.
  • okay Weekly Newsletter.


POLITICAL DIALOGUE  SHOULD WE AVOID OR EMBRACE IT?

By: Susan Haley

Friends gather for a dinner party. The extended family plans the annual reunion picnic. A local community group sponsors a social hour for singles. A social website geared to reaching a large audience of women is launched. The word goes out, if but subtly . . . avoid political rhetoric. It seems to be one edict that garners instant understanding. My question would have to be why? Why should folks avoid discussing the one subject that affects every citizen of the entire Planet? The answers seem to run the gamut from 'set in our beliefs to the point of volatility to no opinion on the matter one way or the other'. I don't know which is more damaging, rigidity or apathy.  

Admittedly, when meeting new people, I too, tend to shy away from the somewhat taboo subjects of politics and faith, but I'm always relieved when the barriers seem to dislodge. Titillating conversation about relevant issues revitalizes the energy in me. How else are we going be educated, aware of other perspectives, and learn to solve the problems that determine our lives and the collective lives of future generations?

Women, especially, should be encouraged to think and speak about the issues and current events affecting them. For generations women were not even allowed to utter an opinion or cast a ballot. We should be celebrating the fact that currently there are more registered women voters than men. What good is the voice of representation if we don't feel free to discuss or even speak out, vehemently if necessary, concerning the issues? If one makes it a point to be well-informed, one can be vehement without being rude. Moreover, it's our responsibility to do so. Our fore sisters fought hard to obtain us these rights.

Existing world conditions ranging from a Planet in peril, globalization in cultures and trade, an ever-rising population on a sphere of limited resources, attaining a quality education and affordable healthcare, to putting gas in the car and food on the table in a, at best, questionable world economy demand that we take a serious look at the world outside our 'box'. It requires that we consider all possibilities by learning and thinking about the problems facing us and then discussing them rather than being guided by the news media, the political pundits and spin masters, or the edicts of one political party on no more of a basis than "my family has always been a this or a that." Perhaps the political and social ideals and strategies which were applicable in the twentieth century no longer suffice.

Presently, I am reviewing a book for one of my columns which is a compilation of newspaper articles written over a span of ten years by Rich Brooks, a Sarasota newspaper editor who in 1995 was stricken with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Now, well beyond the time he was expected to live and with the aid of a laptop computer and an infra-red switch that allows him to scan the alphabet, Mr. Brooks continues to write his award-winning column despite being confined to a wheel chair and hooked up to a ventilator, a most laborious undertaking. What an inspiration this man is, but I digress.

 On June 6, 1998, he wrote a column titled "Kids, Guns Pose Hard Questions and Decisions". What struck me about this column editorializing a local school scare when a 'threat' was made is that it was written before Columbine, before Virginia Tech, and before NIU. Obviously, the questions weren't asked and the decisions weren't made. We, as women, really need to, and can, change that.  

I immediately noticed on my first visit to the "Fabulously 40" website there is an already established political group. I was astonished that it only had four members in this, an election year that is making history! Well, it has five members now. Can we talk? Oh, by all means . . . yes, we can! Maybe, I'll see you there.



  •  

Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Alexandra Boyd wrote May 12, 2008
    • Ah yes, the etiquette of political and religious talk...an age old question...can we, or must we not.

      Politics is crucial to talk about, but it is controversial, so we must embrace it, but know when to avoid it.

      It must be talked about. This is how people get educated and how change is made with time for the better. In a community like this, talk about politics amongst other things should blossom. When you are with good friends or family, there is nothing more fun than a good old political debate. And of course discussing it in a political setting is expected.

      BUT...never should you ever ever bring up politics, or religion for that matter, with someone you are meeting for the first time or barely know. If you happen to share the same view, it could potentially be a great bonding point, but usually, it tends to lead to differences in opinion, and politics usually is very sensitive for most people, so this can lead in a very bad direction. When you are just meeting someone and trying to get to know one another, politics is practically a guaranteed barrier that will tear you apart. And then instead of creating a friendship, you will immediately be judging each other. That’s why first get to know one another, get comfortable with each other, and become friends, and then you can argue about politics all you want but will still call each other the next day.

      As an example, not too long ago, I got together with an old college friend whom I haven’t seen for a while. We went out for a double dinner date and my friend met my husband for the first time. With the elections coming up, I mistakingly let conversation turn to politics, not taking into consideration that it really has been a while since we’ve seen each other and that there were people involved who were meeting for the first time. My view was very different from my friends and I saw in her face that she got sensitive to the subject. And of course my husband was agreeing with me and her date (whom we were meeting for the first time) was agreeing with her, which put up a barrier between all of us. An innocent ‘So what do you think?’ led to the most awkward dinner I’ve had in a long time. And we haven’t gotten together again since...

      So yes, its important to discuss and voice your opinion, but it’s important to know what setting is correct to do so in.



            Report  Reply


    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote May 14, 2008
    • I seem to be having a time getting a comment to post on the “Let’s Talk Politics” group. And, not sure if this will post either. Alexandra, I appreciate your comment. Please bear with me while I learn this board’s little secrets.

      If I don’t respond right away, please carry on with some discussion amongst yourselves. That is the purpose of me being asked to write the columns. An important election and turning point in our country is before us. We, as citizens, really need to put all seated beliefs and parties aside and have some open-minded discussion on the issues. Our futures depend on it.

      Best,
      Susan



            Report  Reply


    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Suzann wrote Jun 16, 2008
    • Susan, I think your column on embracing political dialogue is so very important. I grew up in that era where dinner conversation was devoid of anything important, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why that was the custom. The most important thing women, or anyone, can do is talk, discuss, debate, talk at the dinner table, talk at a party, have intelligent, informed discussions.

      Thanks for bringing this issue up!!!!

      Best regards,
      Suzann



            Report  Reply


About this author View Blog » 
author