Politics in America is a vicious, ugly bloodsport filled with lies, unpleasantness, and crudity. That’s a big part of the reason why so many Americans desperately avoid discussing politics. Unfortunately, because manners are in short supply, particularly on the Left, it has become more and more difficult for people to escape raw politics in their daily lives. In all honesty, it shouldn’t be that way. So, as a public service, here are some places where politics doesn’t belong. If all of this is old hat to you because you weren’t raised in a barn, feel free to forward it over to some of your liberal friends.
Church: If you want to say a prayer for the troops or the President of the country, that’s fine, but most people don’t come to church to hear the pastor’s opinion on the political issues of the day. There have been times when pastors have gotten so political from the pulpit that I’ve been strongly tempted to boo. Maybe I should have given into temptation. It might focus some of these preachers on their Sunday morning job, which has nothing to do with pushing politics. Their flock didn’t come to church to hear that and if they did, then maybe they should stop putting politics in front of God. The same goes for politicians who all seem to mysteriously get the urge to head to church right around Election Day. If the pastor is charitable enough to give you a moment to speak, talk about God and your faith, not your party and your career. Show a little respect.
Funerals: Speaking of respect, how did we get to the point where funerals have become about politics? Hell, at Paul Wellstone’s memorial service they did everything short of a balloon drop. Let me just tell you: If someone gets up at my funeral and starts talking about how we need to pass some tax cut because “John would have wanted it,” I am going to kick the coffin open, beat him to death with my cold, dead hands and eat his brains, right there in front of the assembled crowd — like a zombie from a George Romero flick. Most people die and are quickly forgotten. At least give them a decent send-off without cheapening their lives by corrupting their funerals with petty politics.
With friends and family who disagree: Every so often, usually on liberal websites, I read about people who end up trashing relationships with their family, friends, and significant others over politics. It’s one thing to talk about politics with people who agree with you, but do you really have to hash out the Israeli/Palestinian situation with your uncle? Is winning a debate with a friend really going to mean a hill of beans the next time Affirmative Action comes before the Supreme Court? There’s a reason you’re not supposed to talk about race, religion, and politics with your family and friends. That’s generally good advice.
Graduation ceremonies: Hey, Sherlock Holmes, here’s a clue: You may think you’re a big deal because you’ve been invited to give a commencement speech, but nobody in that captive audience wants to hear your political views. If they want to hear you speak at all, as opposed to spending more time with their friends and family who’re there to see them graduate, they’re hoping to get a little bit of applicable life advice from a successful person before they go out into the big bad world. Obliging them is good form. Haranguing that captive audience with your political views is not. So, shut your yap about politics, pretend that you actually have some idea of why you became a success when dozens of other people who were just as talented didn’t rise as high as you did, and have the manners to give the crowd what they came to hear.
In the class room: Unless the class is political science, politics doesn’t belong in the class room. In fact, it’s absolutely appalling that so many teachers feel free to try to indoctrinate their kids. Let’s tell the kids that Bush is a terrible guy! Let’s show the kids Al Gore’s new movie! Let’s sing a song about Barack Obama! Hey, let’s not. Instead, how about educating the kids and leaving the politics elsewhere? That goes for public school, where parents should be raising hell if teachers step over the line and colleges, where donors and state legislators with control of the purse strings should be ensuring that politics stays outside the classroom.
On TV, at the movies, and in music: Don’t get me wrong here: I’m not objecting to explicitly political flicks like Michael Moore’s Sicko or even Team America: World Police. Everybody knows exactly what they’re getting when they go to see movies like that. But, why does almost every movie about the war in Iraq have to be so explicitly political? Why can’t people even watch cartoons like The Simpsons or Family Guy without having to put up with tedious political jabs? The reason the creators of these shows don’t even show “this much” respect for the fact that there will be a large percentage of the audience that disagrees? Too many people are simply willing to turn the other cheek after being gratuitously insulted. If you get your face slapped and you say, “Thank you sir, may I have another?” don’t be surprised if you get more of the same.
Sporting events: Should Major League baseball yank the All-Star game from Arizona to send a message about their immigration law? Should the Los Suns deliberately flip off the fans who shell out 90 bucks a pop to watch them play? It’s one thing for an athlete to get involved off the field, but do we really need to know the Washington Redskins’ official position on abortion? Do the Boston Celtics need to take a stance on border security? Can’t we make it through the day without knowing how the Atlanta Braves feel as a team about Cash for Clunkers? If the fans actually wanted a mixture of sports and politics, we’d already have “Glenn Beck’s home run derby” on Fox News.