Jun 152015

“So, are y’all the big D or the big R?”

That’s a question my sister heard from one of her husband’s relatives at a family gathering. She’d just met my sister, and after her name, one of the very next things she wanted to know was whether she was a Democrat or a Republican.

(Incidentally, I don’t know how Jonah Goldberg gets in my head, but I’ve been mulling this post for two weeks and he wrote this two days ago, which is typically brilliant and devastating.)

Whether you’re “the big D,” “the big R,” or something in between is completely uninteresting to me day to day.

What? Truth!

Yeah, I’m politically outspoken, but there’s a time and a place for it. Definitely, I do it here at BoWilliams.com. I say what I think. You’re welcome to differ. If you do, then we’ll talk about it, sure.

But at church? Working with you? Going out for a drink or dinner? Your politics don’t inform how I interact with you, nor should they. I don’t roll that way. I can’t roll that way. There are people I adore whose politics I find ridiculously silly, and frankly, that’s true on both ends of the spectrum.

You know, it’s a funny thing, too. I can tell when I meet people and they’re much too interested in my politics on the front end (though not quite so brazenly that they ask me if I’m “the big D” or “the big R”). They’ll cast a veiled line for comfort on (for example) gun control or gay marriage. When they get it and I see them relax a little, I’m always curious to what degree their approval would evaporate if they knew that I didn’t fit either party “down the line” particularly well.

Hey, Bo’s a Christian, saved by God’s grace and God’s grace alone, who thinks gay marriage is a great thing. That’d be enough to plow through a lot of folks.

And then, I’d dredge most of the rest of them thinking everyone ought to carry pistols like they carry car keys or wallets.


Guess what? If you and I have made some connection, it ought not be undone because I don’t think the country should be run exactly the way you think it should be run. If you have me fitted for an ideological box, it’s practically a guarantee I can’t get in it. Let’s instead celebrate what plugs us into each other, and let that be a sufficient condition for our continued interaction.

How would that be?

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 Posted by at 9:56 pm

  4 Responses to “Friends without politics”

  1. One of my more medium size soap boxes in politics is the whole concept of “fitting in a box” or being a “Republican” or a “Democrat”, etc. For a while, I kind of thought I was more or less Libertarian, but then I’ve found that, like the Democrats and Rebublicans, there’s not really a steadfast definition of what that is. I mean, yea, there’s a Wikipedia page about it, which might as well be the “accepted definition,” but then when I hear some of the stances of politicians or people claiming to be Libertarian and I disagree with them and find it different that what I assumed a Libertarian would say.

    So I’ve once again drifted back to where I think everyone should be, disaffiliated with any particular party, but well informed on all the topics I care about.

    • Tahm, that sounds about right.

      I paid Libertarian Party dues for a couple of years, but stopped. Most of my biggest problems with them have to do with foreign policy, as in I find their platform dangerously naive.

  2. We don’t agree on everything but I keep reading your blog because of entries like this. I have friends and loved ones on both ends of the political spectrum and their political beliefs will never make me love them more or less.

    And although I consider myself a Democrat (although arguably on the conservative end) I could not agree more with Jonah Goldberg’s column. Not all Democrats want more government, not all Democrats agree with the rampant “political correctness” and not all Democrats are pro-choice! We need to stop putting people in boxes and recognize that everyone is made up of a wide range of beliefs and experiences.

    • Wow, what a great compliment. Thank you!

      I think it’s hard to be a thinking person and a pure partisan of any kind.

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