I love my man. I love his family. I however, hate their politics (unbelievably conservative). It's the usual Obama is sending our country to hell in a hand basket, Hillary Clinton (whom I love and admire) is a carpetbagger etc... Whenever we are together, I find myself cowering in my seat, sipping my wine and just waiting for the subject to change. Which is really hard for me as I am very outgoing and outspoken, especially when it comes to politics (and even more so when they don't really know what they're talking about...). The family pretty much knows I come from a liberal view-point and they still say stuff that I find offensive i.e. "only smart people are conservative." I keep my mouth shut because I can just imagine a petty argument blowing up into something worse and don't want to ruin a relatively great night.
My question is, when we have our own house am I allowed to instate a no-politics law? They LOVE talking about it and I don't want to feel like I'm running a communist household... but when I'm 5-1 in the corner I don't feel like listening to that in my own home. My fiance and I get along fine because he is rather apathetic to politics, but should I expect him to stick up for me when his family starts acting like inconsiderate idiots? What about the wedding? I am mortified just thinking about what might come up at the rehearsal dinner, etc... when his Reagan worshiping family and my liberal family come together. What do you think?
"FUCK THAT" was about all I could come up with. Not very helpful. So I outsourced this one to the politically savvy, Canadian (Read: Diplomatic) Accordions and Lace.
Here's what she had to say:
So the less conciliatory side of me wants you to email your in-laws a link to this study which correlates liberal politics with higher intelligence. Because two can play at that game. (And it is totally infuriating the way in which "liberal" and "progressive" have become dirty words in the United States, something which I find baffling and which makes me want to punch your in-laws in the nose.) But let's pretend that we're more mature than that.
In my own relationship, my husband is the one with the jerky right-wing in-laws: my parents. (Although recently, my father's responses to the financial crisis have involved him espousing essentially communist ideology, which is hilarious.) And so I've been in your partner's position, only I'm as much of a feisty progressive as he is. And I think the golden rule of dealing with in-laws that applies to all situations of conflict applies here: it falls on the partner who is related to these godforsaken people to be the one who tries to make peace. He needs to talk to them, not you. Just as I deal with my parents' offensiveness, not my husband. It would not be fair for it to fall on you.
All that he can really ask of them is that they recognize that some of what they're saying is offensive to you, and cut it out in your presence, for the sake of family harmony. This also means that you don't rile them up either. You can't change them, they can't change you, and they will probably always think you are a stupid liberal. But he can absolutely say to them, "Hey, it hurts X when you talk like that, and makes her feel like she is not welcome in our family, so could you please just watch yourselves around her."
My parents know I disagree with a lot of what they believe (to be fair, they're not Reaganites or anything that extreme). I know they disagree with me. My parents are just about the least tactful people in the world, but nevertheless we have learned to be careful around each other. That's about the best that I think you can hope for.
(Photo by Josh Goleman)