Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Politics in the Home

I have fond memories of my childhood. Living in a home where I was loved and cared for by great parents was a wonderful blessing. I had a roof over my head, a warm bed to sleep on, and all my needs taken care of.

Some of my earliest memories are of my mother rocking me to sleep in the rickety rocking chair while singing "You Are My Sunshine" or "A Little Birdie in the Apple Tree". I remember her rubbing my legs at night when I had growing pains and my bones ached.

All of these positive memories perhaps lead to the sense of betrayal I had when my mother refused to tell me who she was voting for. In the earliest election I can remember, probably for George Bush Sr. she straight up refused to tell me her vote. At first I laughed, thinking she was joking. When she persisted in not wanting to tell me, I felt somewhat slighted, and then a little hurt. Why wouldn't my mother, who loved me, and sang to me, and comforted me in the middle of the night when I was in pain - why wouldn't she tell me who she was voting for?

I think part of me felt if she couldn't confide in me to tell me who she was voting for, then she must not love me and trust me as much as I thought. It might be twisted, but that's how my mind and heart perceived things.

Imagine my surprise when I came home last night and my wife said to me, "I decided that I wasn't going to tell you who I voted for?" Oy vey! I'll leave out my reaction and let you readers guess how I dealt with it, but this leads to a question. Do you tell your spouse who you are voting for? Did your parents refuse to tell you their vote?

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At November 7, 2012 at 8:15 AM , Blogger Misti Lee said...

I wouldn't want to tell you either since I am sure you weren't pleased that she voted for anyone since it wasn't Ron Paul! :) I am proud of her for voting.

At November 7, 2012 at 8:53 AM , Blogger Ben said...

I have no problem with people voting for someone as long as they have sound reasons. If their reasoning is off, then yes I probably wouldn't be pleased. Just glad this election is over with.

At November 9, 2012 at 3:15 PM , Blogger Ammon said...

Moral of the story; Ben cannot be trusted.

At November 9, 2012 at 8:49 PM , Blogger Ben said...

Ammon, you already learned that years ago.

At November 10, 2012 at 2:41 AM , Blogger Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...

I always knew that my parents split there vote on pretty much every national election. I very rarely tell anyone who I will/have voted for, this election was unusual because I shared it publicly. I think it is something that I choose on a case by case basis.

At November 10, 2012 at 10:00 AM , Blogger Ben said...

Julia, thanks for the comment. I understand not wanting to share with many people, but withholding that info from a spouse? That seems a little weird to me, but I'm weird so I can tell which way is up!

At November 12, 2012 at 6:38 PM , Blogger Katie said...

Thanks again for stopping by my blog, Ben!

My parents never withheld who they were voting for from us. Nor did they ever particularly push us to vote one way or another (though they certainly still let us know how they feel about issues / candidates). Politics has always been an open subject in my family, so I find it strange that it would be anything but in other households!

As for my own home, my hubby and I freely talk politics -- and, happily, agree most of the time. I don't think I would ever not telling him who I voted for, if he really wanted to know. We vote by mail, so we filled out our ballots together, debating some issues ... We even voted differently on a few state initiatives (Colorado), but if that wasn't the case, I feel like to tell him "No" could potentially drive a wedge between us. Something I'm just not willing to do over my vote!

At November 12, 2012 at 11:02 PM , Blogger Ben said...

Katie, I think it is strange to. I guess I'm just the type of person that people don't want to share their opinions with!

At November 12, 2012 at 11:10 PM , Blogger Ben said...

I finally figured out how to reply directly to a person, thanks to your comment! Thanks!

At November 30, 2012 at 12:54 AM , Blogger Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...


For me it comes down to two issues, at least with a spouse. I am not registered with a party. Oregon allows unaffiliated voters, and so while I have worked on campaigns for Republicans and Democrats, I tend to vote for people I trust. If my husband isn't paying enough attention to know where my time and energy are going, then there are probably big problems in our relationship.

As my first marriage broke apart and then was band aided together before it finally broken down forever, the fact that he wasn't paying enough attention to me to know that the kids and I had been to a political rally, that I helped put together a fundraiser, or I testified about a piece of legislation, I didn't feel like an election night demand to know how I voted was appropriate. This election I publicly shared my vote in a national forum (Mormons for Obama) after I cast my vote.

It wasn't a surprise to my husband since we talked about the $50 I had contributed to the campaign, and he knew I was volunteering to edit campaign correspondence and literature. (Being housebound meant no rallies or fundraisers this year, which I admit to missing.) My kids are old enough to have political opinions, and since they are used to hearing me and others talk about the "big ideas" of politics, I try to listen to them, and what they process out of what they hear.

I think your last comment, that you might be someone people don't want to share their opinions with is an important insight. I would encourage you to think about what barriers someone would face in *wanting* to share their thoughts, opinions or decisions with you. Do you tend to be someone who thinks people who disagree with you, or just have a different world view, need more information so they can understand your view? Is not telling you a way to avoid conversations that would open up parts of them that you might want to help them fix in themselves? Do you feel like loving you, marrying you or being part of your life entitles you to know their political choices? If you do feel that it does, why do you?

I find that listening and asking questions is a fairly good way to have people decide to share information. Feeling like you deserve to know how your mother or wife voted might be the problem. I could be all wet, but you final comment does make me wonder. :-)

At November 30, 2012 at 12:59 AM , Blogger Ben said...

All great thoughts! I think in my case my mother was just a very private person. As for my wife, she was worried how I would react when I learned she was voting for someone I couldn't ever vote for, no matter how hard I tried to be open-minded about it.

At November 30, 2012 at 1:10 AM , Blogger Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...

I would say that you are lucky to have a marriage that supports loving relationships, without needing to be carbon copies of each other politically or spiritually. Individually and a couple you will be stronger for learning to live with, and love, someone who doesn't see the world the same way. Being able to do that means that you will have way more ideas when you hit a completely unexpected bump in the road!

Kudos to you and your wife! (You might want to remind her that you love her uniqueness! ;-) You really wouldn't have wanted a female version of yourself to spend eternity with, would you?)


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