George recently learned from his sister, Joan, that she’s been a life-long Democrat. This surprised George because her family is a clan of rabid Republicans. “When Ed was alive, I never said anything about politics,” Joan confessed, “and he turned all the kids to his side.”
My brother, Dooby, like most Tea Party Republicans, strongly opposes government spending for social programs (excluding his own Social Security checks) as well as regulations on business and environment. My sister-in-law keeps her mouth shut while Dooby spouts, but she drives a Prius, buys organic, and recycles everything.
Another relative shocked her passionately Republican family when her husband and sons ranted about the terrible person Bill Clinton is. “I don’t see how anyone could have ever voted for Clinton,” Dear Husband thundered. “I did,” his help meet replied. “Twice.”
Being silent over political differences may be a gender issue—women are trained from childhood to be submissive. But it may just be a realistic strategy for limiting marital conflict. My cousin Sylent Suffrer never contradicts his wife’s strident political pronouncements. Harmony at home is apparently more important to Sy than expressing his own views.
I suspect more than one marriage has been saved because one partner has learned to use “Yes, dear” as code for “Up yours.”