Monday, March 28, 2016

Walking Down the Aisle

I married a Republican*. I've always voted Democrat. I'm not a huge fan of those labels, but they're commonplace and simple to use.

I've become a little more Republican. He's become a little more Democrat. Heck, we've even talked about voting across the aisle depending on the year, the candidate, the issues at stake. 

Speaking of aisles, we walked down one. Together. Almost 6 years ago. 

We don't always agree, and there are times when we cut the conversation short, because arguing it out and getting in our talking points isn't worth going to bed feeling disconnected. 

Republican and Democrat aren't our most important labels or descriptors. Christian, wife, husband, mommy/daddy, son, daughter, sister, brother, economist, doctor, nerd. They're not the only descriptors, but they aren't un-important. They're part of a story that shapes how we see and interact with the world around us. 

I can't laugh quite as much as some anti-republican jokes on late night comedy, because I'm watching them sitting next to my favorite Republican. Jonathan can't write off Democrats as all being tree-hugging, non-profit founding, government dictators, because I'm sitting next to him when we watch Fox News. 

We agree on a lot, the vast majority. But sometimes we don't. And that's ok. At the end of the day, we trust that what each of us most desires is real, true, good life, for all people. Neither of us think that's found wholly, fully, perfectly in presidents or government. We both see, differently, how our leaders and government structures affect the world we live in in real ways. I tell stories about the injustice of healthcare and welfare. He tells stories about the injustices of bad economics. We both long for a country and world more full of life, peace, justice. My ability to think about life, peace, and justice is bigger, not smaller, because of our cross-political relationship. Isn't that the point? I've had the experience of getting frustrated about bad democratic policies. And...Jonathan has hugged a few trees since we've been married. 

We live life not reaching across the aisle, but walking down the aisle. 

We are at our best when we're in motion, walking together, not seated comfortable and holding hands across an ideological aisle. Walking means neither of us are fully comfortable, easily defined or contained, and that's a good thing.

The carpet in the aisles is a little more worn. You can't help but bump into people. And when the people from either side are trying to move in different directions? Forget it. Mass chaos, stepped on toes. No one gets anywhere fast. Aisles work best when people are moving in the same direction, even if at different speeds, with pit stops and side conversations.

Here's to hoping we can all spend a little more time in the aisle.

*Disclaimer, Jonathan said it was OK that I outed him as a Republican, and that he isn't really that Republican.