Thursday 17 January 2019

Pillow talk

She campaigns for the Republicans, he for the Democrats, and they’re married.  So what?

Just when I think I have understood how politics overshadows absolutely everything in this country, I come up against yet another example which simply makes my mind boggle.

So, apparently, in Malta, if a couple have opposing political views then it is impossible for them not to influence one another – eventually one of them will be lured into “turning” and crossing over to the other side.   For some reason, or so some people think, the fact that Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando and his partner Carmen Ciantar can support the PN and the Labour party respectively and can co-exist happily without politics getting in the way, is an aberration.

“Ma jistax ikun”! (It’s impossible), they proclaim loudly.  And yet, I hate to break it to those who think that politics is a matter of life and death and that, especially as an election looms, you cannot be seen to be in cahoots with the “enemy”….uhm, this happens all the time. I once asked a few people whose other half supports a different political party how they handle it, and they all shrugged and said, “we simply do not discuss politics, and we definitely do not let it get in the way of our relationship”.

The fact is that no, not everyone walks around labelling people blue and red, carefully sifting their social acquaintances and friends and potential partners so that they end up only mixing with those who are just like them. Some of us happen to think that there is a life out there beyond who gets to sit in Castille.

And if you are still adamant that it cannot be done, I suggeset you step outside your bubble and read the story of James Carville (an American political commentator and strategist for the Democratic party who campaigned for Clinton) and his wife Mary Matalin (a Republican political consultant who campaigned for Bush).

Even socially and culturally they are different. In one interview they were described thus:  “She is a fierce conservative from Illinois. He is a pugnacious liberal from the backwoods of Louisiana”.

And yet, as far as I can tell, they are quite content with one another. I have watched them debate one another on TV with wit and humour, defending their party to the hilt, and when the debate was over that was it, they were husband and wife again.

So please let’s get a grip and stop with this political segregation of “them” vs  “us”.  Otherwise we will have only ourselves to blame if we keep making politics the be all and end all of our very existence.


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