Sunday, March 21, 2010

Red Wine and Politics

I live in a largely conservative household. My husband is a stanch conservative, as is my best friend. I would say I have more moderate leanings, but overall share many conservative philosophies. My son, as well as many of my friends are liberals, and some of them are ALL THE WAY liberals. It seems like under this particular administration (Obama) there has been so much political discussion in our household - MUCH more than any previous administration, to be sure, and with MUCH more vehemance and fervor on both sides of the aisle, as it were. Add in a liberal dosing of red wine over a meal...and presto! Heated debate ensues, EVERY time.

I am fine with political debate, provided both sides actually LISTEN to the other's point of view and bring their points to bear with an "inside voice". I absolutely deplore when these discussions become standoffs at increasing decibels and with facts and figures being lobbed in like grenades. Because no one around here is an expert, to be sure, but BOY OH BOY do they keep throwing those fire bombs at each other. I have to confess that when discussions ramp up in this manner I am apt to just shut down and go in another room. Particularly if this happens at my own dinner table. I just can't stand when voices begin to raise and talk over one another (like a bad day on "The View") and NO ONE is listening to a word each other has to say, only thinking of what they plan to say next.

OK, I get it that the country is fired up. Things have NOT gone as promised. (Change? WHAT change?) It is scary how messed up government has gotten in this country. It doesn't matter what party a person is affiliated with, EVERYONE who is in government gets jaded and sucked into a vortex of red tape, politicking and personal gain. The only logical thing is to throw every last one of them out and start fresh. Too bad it can't be done in one fell swoop. Because I'm really tired of getting agitated during what should be peaceful meals. No one is making sense any more. No one talks reason or puts ideas out that are doable, incremental and in synch with the populace. It doesn't even happen in my own dining room! How in the world will those who SHOULD know better can't even get it done?

Perhaps red wine should be banned from meals. It seems to contribute to the idiot factor around here. There are SO many things to talk about in the world - why muck up a good meal with political sparring? Maybe dinners should be planned with -pre-determned subjects known to all to spark real discussions. And it is frustrating that political knowledge by the masses is gleaned in increasing numbers by the talking heads on television - CNN, network news, FOX, etc. Those aren't NEWS casts any more. Not like when I was young. Everything has become so editorialized. It's like the nightly news is one giant op-ed. I don't need that creeping into my dining room. It's so annoying and even insulting when I've spent half a day cooking for a group, only to have the meal conversation take a huge downturn with the inevitable veering towards the politics of the day, courtesy the second of third glass of Mike Ditka's "Kick Ass Red".

Give us cooks a break, people. Back off on the controversial discussions when the meal is still on the table. At least in the old days they guys retired to a library with cigars and port to begin the heavy debate. Dinner should be pleasant for all of us. Not that we ladies (and some gentlement) can't handle the discussion - just perhaps not in the initial stages of digestion. I'd like my steak to stay put, thank you very much. Certainly there are subjects of note that may be discussed at a table without causing rifts, arguements and raised voices before dinner plates are cleared.

Time and place for everything you politicos. Time and place for everything. We don't have to die on every hill and certainly don't have to make every meal a "learning" opportunity for the other side. Go easy on the red and perhaps pay respects to all present. Not everyone wants in on your bucking bronco of a debate. Some of us perfer to relax and enjoy the fruits of our labors, saving the wide ride for later. :)

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