Far be it from me to instruct others on how to behave (well not that far), but some folks seem to need reminding of what their mothers taught them…assuming their mothers did not provide the inspiration for one of the characters on “Orange is the New Black.”
Surely I am not the only one who is shocked at the open speculation about filling Justice Scalia’s seat that broke out the minute the man expired. Granted, many of his opinions were well past their sell-by date, but there is such a thing as decorum. And it’s not the speculation I object to, it’s the openness of it.
So here’s a word for how to navigate these troubling political times, even when you’re conversing with someone supporting a different candidate. You can find that cherished common ground. First of all, know that no one is going to change sides based on anything you say. When a Bernie supporter lunches with a Hillary supporter, they should talk about the Republicans. When a Trump supporter lunches with a Rubio supporter, they should talk about the Democrats, and then segue into bashing the other Republican candidates. When an establishment Democrat lunches with an establishment Republican, the entire lunch can be spent beating up on Bernie, Trump, and Cruz. I’d offer additional thoughts in this vein, but I’m not sure Bernie supporters ever lunch with Republicans, nor am I sure that Cruz supporters ever lunch with anyone.
Also, throw a bone every now and then. This is important during the feeling out stage of the conversation. If you discover that you’re lunching with a Hillary supporter and you happen to think Hillary is in the anti-Christ, would it hurt to say she certainly is doing a good job keeping up with her hair and makeup? Even if you think Marco Rubio has the gravitas of a soufflé, not one of his supporters will disagree if you say he’s easy on the eye. See what I mean? A bone can be a very good thing to throw. (I see you smirking, and that must stop immediately.)
And, for the sake of good manners, please plan to stay on the civility wagon even if your candidate gets winnowed out. You will be allowed to express your bitterness amongst those who are in the same boat in private, but start thinking of some magnanimous phrases to use in public. Things like…”I don’t agree with him on many things, but it’s not like he’s Eugene V. Debs”…”She does seem to have a plan; I just wish it went further”…”Of course he’s kind of crazy, but it’s going to be interesting to see what happens next”…”All things considered, his brother wasn’t that bad”…Okay, you’ll never need to use that last one.
So say these things to yourself. First, it will prove no hardship for me not to dance on someone’s political grave, at least not publicly. (There is one, but that’s another story.) Secondly, I can talk to folks with whom I disagree politically and still have a grand time. Thirdly, I can be gracious in defeat.
Oh, well…two out of three isn’t bad, is it?