Parties and Politics (But Not What You Think)

I went to a friend’s 70th birthday party this past weekend. It was a bit of a wake-up call for me as I have past the high point between 60 and 70. I guess I have peaked and am starting the downhill run to another milestone.

Anyway, it was a good time, good food, good music and good company. The food was Italian, which ALWAYS works, the music was from the 60s and 70s, which hits my stride, and the company was diversified and happy, all of which made for the good time I mentioned.

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The people at my table were very nice, but near the end, one of them wanted to talk politics. Normally, I would be ready to roll, but since this was a birthday party, I felt it was not the time nor place. The person showed her views immediately and I even said, in a joking manner, hoping she would get the hint that I was not going to fall into the trap and be the cause of ruining the party.

She persisted, so I got up and politely said good night to her and the rest of the table. She was stunned that I would be so abrupt, but I just smiled, walked away and said good night to my friend’s daughter.

My point is this: there is a time and place to talk politics, or religion, or other controversial subjects. But a birthday party, or anniversary party, or other celebratory event isn’t it. Why don’t people understand this? And what part of “I don’t think this is the place” do people not yet understand?

When I am at an event like this, I don’t even mention that I write blogs and commentaries on issues of the day. If another friend mentions it, I won’t deny it and I then just mention my site, with a chuckling comment that the person should read my commentaries and their comments, pro or con, are welcomed.

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As you, my loyal readers know, I learned long ago from my friend, Mayor Ed Koch, to just thank the person for reading my views and sharing theirs. I don’t get into a debate to justify my point of view. I already said what I wanted to say and explained my viewpoint in the commentary. No need to repeat it.

So, the next time you invite me to a party, just know I won’t be the one who would ruin it by talking politics or religion. But, I WILL talk sports or something else which is not controversial. And I will be gracious if another of your guests decides to go down that forbidden path.

Your guest will not change my view nor will I change his or hers. And certainly, a party of any kind is not the place to try.

In this trying and difficult election cycle, it is the least any of us can do.

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