My husband and I and some of our family just spent the July 4th weekend with his brother and his family at a lake in West Texas. His brother loves to shoot off fireworks at the edge of the lake behind their cabin, as does everyone else who lives or weekends at that lake. My 5-year-old grandson had the time of his life helping his great-uncle with the fireworks, and it was a hoot watching them.
But that isn’t the most notable thing about our weekend. You see, my husband’s brother supports John McCain as staunchly as we support Barack Obama. Over the past few months, we’ve exchanged e-mails in support of our two candidates that have progressively become more intense. It’s obvious that we’re going to have to agree to disagree, because even though we respect each other’s opinions, none of us is willing to budge from our own. (I guess you could say we’re the political equivalent of the immovable object meeting the irrestible force.) So before we went to the lake, we asked that the lake cabin remain politics-free while we were there, and my brother-in-law agreed.
While we were there, in addition to the fireworks, we went waterskiing, played board games, ate lots of great food, caught up with what’s going on in each other’s lives, got some much-needed rest, and thoroughly enjoyed every moment just being with family that we love and respect. The phrase “politics-free zone” came up a couple of times, but only with a smile and a wink of the eye.
I’m sure there’s some profound lesson to be learned from this experience, but I’m not going to spend time looking for it. I’m just going to remember the past weekend as one of the most loving, fun, unforgettable experiences of my life. And when November rolls around, I’m going to remember my brother-in-law and others like him who support John McCain. We all share the common goal of wanting what is best for our country, because it will have an enormous impact on the future of everyone we love. We simply have differences of opinion as to how “the best for our country” can be achieved.
But my brother-in-law is not the enemy, nor are we.