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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

I Don’t Like Politics

I avoid them assiduously here. Hell, I have no idea what this blog is about, what with the furniture, and the boats, and the children, and the music, and the wandering around hereabouts with a camera. But it ain’t about politics. Politics is poison when it enters the home. It’s a civic duty. It belongs in public life. It’s fouling your own nest to drag it into your house.

I was at a small fete last week. The weather was perfect, the company was pleasant, the assorted children frolicked together all afternoon in the gentle sun and the cool shade without ever a tear being shed. The food was good, and simple, and made right before us and served by the same hand that prepared it. We adults chatted of many things and we coalesced in numerous cliques of various sizes and compositions to do that chatting. Since we are not all in each other’s company often, there is a lot to talk about, and much that seems fresh to report as well as to hear.

No one got the urge, not even once, to talk politics.

Why would we? Nothing is settled by political prattle. Points scored in debate are always subtracted from the bonhomie column kept elsewhere. Politics to normal people is treated like what it is: an intrusion into our lives, something that keeps us from what is more important, and what is amusing. Politics is a lawn to be mowed, not a game to be played on it. And the people that involve themselves in it, generally, are either dry as dust, or nasty, or sometimes loony.

I’ll bet you every adult at that party votes in every election. I know they are intelligent and thoughtful people. I bet, if pushed, they could give you a sober rundown, factually coherent throughout, of the condition of the local, state, and national polity. And I doubt very much that all the levers pulled in those booths are the same ones for every participant. But I also bet you there’s one aspect of the proceedings where we all share the exact same outlook, and simply gauge the likely effectiveness of one political party or candidate over another: we’re all looking for the politics that will intrude into these personal scenes the least, or who will allow the smallest intrusions by others — whether simply to annoy us, or to kill us.

I am deeply suspicious, and perhaps you should be too, of anyone that wishes politics to have enough prominence to be mentioned at a garden party. We do not, after all, throw these parties at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

8 Responses

  1. What a good thing to remember.

    I sometimes have the fault of bringing up something political when I shouldn’t and I always and immediately regret it. It’s just mind-numbingly embarrassing.

    Isn’t so much more calming to read the arty blogs?

    PS: I’m another fan of your comments from Althouse 🙂

  2. Hi md- thanks for coming by and commenting.

    arty blogs? Indeed. The blogosphere is pegged as political now. I see it drifting away from that over the long term. The political things will consolidate, and the narrowly focused, disparate interest blogs will grow, I think.

    And absolutely no one will read the newspaper.

  3. My mother, married 50+ years, told me that she and Dad didn’t talk much about politics. And he LOVED politics. She said “we mostly agreed about most everything, so there wasn’t much to talk about.”

    I love talking politics with people who agree with me about 56% of the time. They’re just reasonable enough to convince me about the other 44%; but I’m reasonable enough to listen.

    I also love talking about religion, too. But I’m a Catholic, transplanted into the South, where I had to learn apologetics mighty quick in order to hold my own in the buckle of the Bible belt. Ya’ never know when you might be the voice of the Holy Spirit for someone. St. Francis is reputed to have said, “Evangelize, evangelize, evangelize. If necessary, use words.”

  4. There’s a local variation on this topic, here in Massachusetts, which is stories about politicians. I love those. That’s completely different.

    I should tell the story of how Mayor James Michael Curley had the sculptor commissioned to make a bas relief of the founding of Massachusetts stick Curley’s face on one of the founders.

    Curley made Huey Long look like Calvin Coolidge.

  5. lohwoman- I’ll find a picture of it and post a little story about it.

    It’s an interesting bit of americana.

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