I love that we have the opportunity to vote in this country. We all get to put our heads together and decide who gets to be in charge for the next 4 years.
I also love that we have the ability to vote by mail. Here we are, a little over 2 weeks away from election day, and I’ve already voted. It’s one more task I can check off my list. That feels nice.
The part that I don’t like about it, though, is that I still have to drive around and see all the signs that say “Yes on Prop x” or “So-and-so 2008.” I’m not gonna talk about who I voted for, but I can’t help but notice that I feel a little bad about voting the opposite of what the particular sign says. It’s like a little reminder to me that there are a lot of people out there that support different views than I do, some of whom can’t hold back a tongue lashing when they hear that I voted opposite of them.
How annoying do you find it when someone starts making fun of you for who you voted for? Well, my annoyance starts before that. I get annoyed when someone just asks who I voted for. That tells me that I’m about to receive an earfull. There’s nothing that I can say that will avoid hearing this person spout off about how they have it all figured out, how one of the candidates is better than the other, and for me to not see it would be proof that I’m stupid.
Since fighting over politics isn’t something I enjoy doing, I have field-tested some tactics to prevent this uncomfortable situation. My hypothesis is that anyone who asks you “Who are you voting for?” is actually telling you “I’m about to get all riled up and tell you why Candidate B is a scum bag.” Here’s what I’ve tried as responses when someone asks, “Who are you voting for?”
- “I’m voting for Candidate A.” A direct response to their question showing you have a firm position and are not really open to hearing opinions. Their response will always be to smear the candidate they are against. If you said you were voting for Candidate A, and that’s who they’re voting for, they’ll say, “Good. Candidate B is a dirty scum bag because…” If you said you were voting for Candidate B, they’ll say, “What?! Candidate B is a dirty scum bag because…” FAIL.
- “I haven’t decided yet.” Trying to communicate that I am apathetic about it, and not open to opinions. Depending on how enthusiastic the person is about their choice (Candidate A), they’ll range from calmly telling you Candidate B is a scum bag to condescendingly reprimanding you for not picking the one they are going to pick. FAIL.
- “I don’t like to talk about politics.” This is an attempt at complete avoidance. Response is usually a challenge in some way sounding like, “Why not? It’s probably because Candidate B is a scum bag.” Sometimes you’ll get a crafty booger who will lure you into response 1 or 2 by saying something like, “Oh, I don’t like arguing about it either. But I’m just curious about your opinion.” If you fall for this, see response 1 or 2. FAIL.
- “I already voted, but I’m not telling you who.” This response has two goals: a) frustrate the inquirer for our own entertainment, and b) communicate that I don’t want to engage in conversation about it. The frustration levels vary depending on the person and my delivery, but it eventually turns into a guessing game that sounds something like, “Oh no, you didn’t vote for Candidate B, did you? I hope not because he’s a real scum bag.” FAIL.
- “I’ll tell you if you tell me first.” This is total surrender to the question in hopes that appeasing the inquirer will shorten the length of the conversation. When they respond, “I’m voting for Candidate A” you just start emphatically agreeing with their choice and beat them to the punch with something like, “Oh, me too, because that Candidate B is a scum bag.” However, even if I preempt all the bashing, they still seem to want to agree with me by repeating it all over again! FAIL!
After all that I still haven’t found a way to avoid these types of one-sided conversations with this type of person. Usually if I know the person well enough, I’ll use humor and sarcasm to downplay the topic and then divert it to something else, but I don’t always get asked by someone I know.
If you’ve done any research of your own, let me know your findings in the comments.
Good night, and good luck.