September 25, 2012

To Respectfully Disagree

Confession time: I’m a pusher.  When the opportunity presents itself, I share my political views with my kids.  I am all for their independent thinking and building their own opinions and values of the world.  But something in me cannot just leave it up to chance.  What if Chelsea Clinton had grown up to be a Republican congresswoman?  What if one of the Bush twins were the newly elected chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee?  Call me a control freak. 

The good news is that when we have political banter at the dinner table, it doesn’t get very heated because my husband and I are on the same page.  The kids are starting to take part in the discussion, at least for short bursts.  But last night at dinner, an important question was brought up by my 7-year old.  Why, he asked, did the president refer to his opponent as Mr. Romney?  Aren’t they enemies? Aren’t they in competition?  Shouldn’t he be calling him “Captain Wrongo-Pants?”

My son was expecting a war of words that included name calling.  Not because he had heard it before, but because it was a natural consequence of being opponents.  I recalled the smack talk between fans during football season.

We told him that that opposing viewpoints don’t mean the other person is mean, has bad intentions or a lower intellect.  It was a good illustration that even though we disagree, respect is something that everyone deserves.  It is a good reflection on the person giving it and on our civilized society.

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