Friday, October 12, 2012

Not Talking about Politics

See no politics, hear no politics, speak no politics
I've taken a vow to stop swearing and to stop talking about politics in public. It's tough.

I mean, really tough. The politics part, that is. As for the swearing, #@!*.

Why would I take such a vow? Well, aside from the utter futility of talking about politics and swearing, I'm trying to project a certain image here on the internet. Professional, you know. Cool. Artistic. Above the fray. Okay, so it's fake. Maybe I can live into it.

I was raised to be political. My side of the family were political from their cradles. My grandfather managed the campaign of his cousin, Burton Hill, who served two terms in the Canadian parliament in the nineteen-thirties. My father ran for the Maine state legislature and lost by thirteen votes. (He could have been Ed Muskie.) As a child I was lulled to sleep by the sounds coming over my parents' radio of politicians speechifying at the national party conventions. Large echo chambers. Loud cheers. It was somehow soporific. Both parties, because politics was a sport then, and conventions had uncertain outcomes. My parents weren't activists by the time my sister and I came along, but they were keenly interested spectators.

The night of the Kennedy vs. Nixon election I retired to the rec room with the boy I was dating to hold hands and listen to music. "Aren't you going to watch the election results with us?" my mother said. "No," said my date, "It doesn't matter which one of them wins. They're both the same." My mother was outraged. Later she managed to break us up.

Time passed. (Rather a lot of time.) For many years now I've been married to a nice man who puts up with my morning rants and curses, delivered at the breakfast table while reading the political news in the paper. I'm not an activist, except every few years, when extraordinary circumstances compel me go to Trenton or Washington and march and chant with a group of like-minded people. Those of you who know me well know that I have very strong views. I must confess that I thoroughly enjoy the political Facebook postings of most of my friends. But I don't repost them because everyone has already made up his mind about the coming election and nothing I might have to say will sway them. Not even cursing will help now.

I will say this: Get your #&& to the polls on November 6 and vote. And now I'll be quiet.

Kate Gallison


  1. We do live in times where it is dangerous to say your piece re politics in many public arenas! The climate is more like kindling waiting for a match - I have lived in many places in the USA, and have never sensed it to be like it is today. Sometimes I kinda wish I had the rifle I carried in my Tennessee days! Even the local bootleggers didn't dare mess with this lady! Thelma Straw

  2. Kate, I cannot believe how similar our political experiences were as children, right down to listening to a relative's election results on the radio, in my case an uncle. I started swearing at the TV news during the Vietnam War so I gave up television news. I started swearing at the newspaper during Watergate, so I gave up reading the paper. Lately, I have been swearing at the radio news, but for the past sixteen months (or was it sixteen years? Decades?)of this interminable presidential election. Until about a month ago. Then I decided that I would listen only to the hourly five-minute news. I cannot tell you how I admire your self-control, going cold turkey on swearing at the media about politics. I am weaning myself. But I don't think I will ever reach your lofty goal. In fact, if our side wins I will gloat loudly and with MANY blue expressions. I hope I am hoarse the next morning.

  3. I don't think I'll ever reach my lofty goal either, though it's something to shoot for. The trouble with paying attention to the pundits is that even the most eloquent of them seem to believe that appearance is everything, that the guy who puts on the best act for the TV is the best candidate, and that the voters are correct if they believe this. Issues? What issues? This isn't a @#$%!! congeniality contest, for &^%$# sake, *&^%% it... oops. *drools, jibbers, has to be sedated and put to bed.*