Celebrating the Fourth? Ditch politics, if your loved ones will let you

Illus. from Puck, v. 35, no. 904, (1894 July 4), centerfold. N.Y. : Published by Keppler & Schwarzmann.

Illus. from Puck, v. 35, no. 904, (1894 July 4), centerfold. N.Y. : Published by Keppler & Schwarzmann.

Is your family, like mine, divided over politics? I think for many Americans, the answer would be yes. My solution for this holiday and others is to ditch politics when your family gathers.

This can be more difficult sometimes than it should be. 

I have a loved one who, for whatever reasons, will bring politics up in a passive aggressive way and stick with that agenda until someone feels compelled to respond. This individual gets the majority of “news” from a network that is far left of center. Ultimately, this person decided I was no longer part of his family. I hope one day he’ll change his mind, but I’m not holding my breath.

I don’t know if it’s just the way I’m wired, but I don’t judge my friends and family based on how they vote. I think I probably have one of the most diverse circles in the country, and I am blessed in part because of that.

The only way I would hold politics against a person is if that individual chose to promote an agenda that harmed others as terrorist groups choose to do.

For much of the divisiveness in my family and across the country, I hold advocacy media and political messengers accountable. I don’t mean media who are honest about their ideology. I am talking about what is incorrectly referred to as “mainstream media” pretending objectivity while pushing specific policies on behalf of a specific party. I’m not sure what we should call such media. Some use the term “legacy media,” while others like President Donald Trump call them “Fake News.” Former president Barack Obama also criticized the media, but he did so in more evasive terms. Whatever else Trump is, he is most certainly direct.

I don’t watch much politics TV anymore. I do read a lot—books, websites, magazines, newspapers. I read material from both sides of the aisle. I also spend a great deal of time on government and think tank websites. I pay close attention to what Congress, the president, and regulatory agencies actually do. I routinely bemoan major issues Americans need to know about that get buried—deliberately or not—by advocacy media.

Most individuals who are blindly partisan choose to get information from a single TV network, or from blogs written by individuals aligned with a political party. That is unfortunate in an age when we have so many media to choose from.

It seems to me that holidays should be devoid of unnecessary conflict. So even if someone asks me a political question over the holidays, I’ll probably not answer it. I just want to focus on sun, fun, family, and cookouts. I can do politics any day. I can’t see my loved ones any day I feel like it.

I’m not sure why I have tolerance for those I disagree with, but I’m glad I do. I’ve always said if everyone in Washington agrees on something, we Main Streeters usually lose.

Happy Fourth of July. Focus on the fireworks in the sky, not those within the political slant of your loved ones.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/July 3, 2017)

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More about the featured photo

How times have changed.  Retrieved from the US Library of Congress, the caption for ‘Independence Day’ of the future by C. J. Taylor states:

“Print shows a future 4th of July celebration where women have gained suffrage and equality; it shows young and old women ringing a bell labeled “Equal Rights”, as women emerge from underground and participate in a procession, marching under banners that state “United Order of Matinee Women” and “Higher Culture Division” past statures of a woman holding a rolling pin labeled “Erected to the Memory of the First Woman Who Wore Breeches” and an eagle, wearing a bonnet, labeled “The American Bird is a Hen Eagle and Lays Eggs. Lil Blake Sculp.” A notice on a bell tower states “Strike Out the Word Male”.

 

About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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