*I have to preface this post with a disclaimer that the opinions expressed below are just that - opinions. They are mine all mine and do not reflect the opinions of my FSO husband or the U.S. Government. Also, I'm not making any political statements, so don't go looking for any!
I love my friend C. She is Scandanavian born and bred. I am American. She is left of center and I am right of center. We have the best political and ideological discussion. These discussions are highly animated, last for hours, usually begin over beer or wine, involve a fair amount of laughter (at and with), and a lot of thinking. These are the types of discussions I imagined having when I chose political science as a major. These are the types of discussions I have never been able to have with another American. I've yet to figure out why, but I do have my theories.
C and I were not geographically close during the 2008 and the 2010 elections. I really missed our discussions. To be able to debate - honestly debate - the sides of an issue is not something I've found in the US. Maybe it is because Americans are too close to the issues and it becomes too personal. But that should be exactly the reason why Americans should have these discussions! Even the debates between political candidates aren't really debates. They are sound bites squeezed between insults.
A few nights ago, C and I got together to catch up and catch up we did. We had two major American elections to discuss! As per usual, wine and food precipitated the discussion, and then the words just started flowing. We discussed a variety of issues and came to a conclusion. That a lot of so-called political issues today are not really political at all. They are purely personal issues in which politicians have gotten involved and have complicated even more. C and I did agree that the politicians seem to like it this way - keep issues screwed up and retain power. We're not sure how to unpoliticize the issues, but that will surely be a topic for future discussions!