Off Topic

I have a general rule when conversing with someone -- never discuss politics or religion. Sure, a person's beliefs regarding either of these will manifest themselves in the fabric of the discussion, but overt topics of religion or politics are best steered clear from.

Nevertheless, I found myself in a dinner discussion with a friend this weekend and, sure enough, she got on about politics. She could sense that I was doing my best to politely dodge the topic but, instead of deterring her, this only made her more intrigued.

So, she asks me whether I'm a Democrat or Republican. And I knew, barring any major breach in etiquette, I wasn't going to get away with avoiding the topic. But I certainly wasn't going to answer her question the way she wanted me to.

First of all, I told her that I do not define myself as either a Republican or a Democrat. I mean, if people looked at my life -- depending on what I was up to at any given moment -- some would think I'm an ultra-conservative and others would think I'm a tree-hugging, bleeding-heart liberal. When all the time I'm just being me.

Then she asks if I'm an "Independent." How can I answer this question? I know she meant in political party terms but gee, aren't we all independent at times -- some more than others.

So she starts getting a little frustrated, trying to figure out what I "am." Then, as if to cut to the chase, she asks me "How do you vote?"

Well, this one is easy. I tell her "I vote with my life." Which really throws her off.

Here's my point..

I "vote" (make choices) about the issues that are vital to me through my actions... what I write, the things I spend my money on (and those I don't), the people I'm drawn to meet, the music I listen to, the struggles I join, the pain I feel, the laughter I share, the roads I walk, the clothes I wear, what I drink, how I eat, the tears I cry, the dance I dance, the voice I speak, the trouble I get myself into, the joy I embrace...

Sure, I'll go into some voting booth and pull a lever and do my "civic duty." But I'll walk out and continue voting and doing my best to uphold my personal sense of civil duty -- every day of my life.

I picked up the check.


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