Politically Homeless - I Won't Talk Politics With My Wife
Real people, real letters, real problems, no solutions.
Politics these days have become so divided and divisive that it’s become the norm to view the other side of the aisle as “the enemy”. People are being told to “pick a side” and that there’s no room for middle ground. We here at Phetasy believe that there are a lot more people in the middle than politicians and the media would have us believe.
We’re collecting stories from the ever growing number of people who are finding themselves Politically Homeless and posting them here on Substack. If you have moved from conservative to liberal, or liberal to conservative, if you feel you’ve stayed in the same place and your party has swerved drastically away from you, if you had a moment that awakened you to the insanity and hypocrisy on both sides, if you keep your mouth shut anytime a political topic comes up because you’re afraid your opinion will cause you to lose friends or your job, you’re not as alone as you might think.
Our goal is to shine a light on people’s earnest, individual experiences and show them they’re not alone.
Some letters have been edited for clarity and brevity. If you’re politically homeless and would like to share your story, please email us at email@example.com. All submissions will remain anonymous.
Beyond Parody with Bridget Phetasy is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
I don’t talk politics with my wife. More accurately, I won’t talk politics with my wife. I simply refuse; whenever our conversations start to stray in that direction, I either redirect the conversation or clam up until we find a new topic. I love my wife; we are very compatible and share most of the same values and perspectives. We recently welcomed our first child after years of frustration. Despite that, though, we simply cannot talk about anything even vaguely political without it devolving into a nasty and accusatory fight. We’ve been together for years, and I have no expectation of us separating until death do us part. I find it, shall we say, less than ideal that we cannot have a civil disagreement or even a semi-productive discussion about something as simple as the minimum wage without it turning into a fight. Did you know that believing that progressive minimum wage laws display a lack of economic understanding makes you a classist who doesn’t care about others? I didn’t.
I wish I knew why this is. I wish that this didn’t happen. It’s totally bizarre. We can discuss plenty of things together without it becoming contentious, but the moment that it becomes political, everything breaks down. What's worse, it seems like every year, all the time, more things seem to fall under that umbrella. It seems like the line between the political and all else is becoming more and more porous and the more I feel like I have to walk on eggshells. This is the only thing that I feel I have to hide from her, the only place I can’t be honest. I don’t get nervous if she’s playing a game on my phone when a text comes in; she can read all of them if she likes. But I will compulsively close apps like YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or even Google News if I think she can see my screen. The only things about my life that I don’t want her to know are things like the fact that I listen to Ben Shapiro, I read Bari Weiss’s The Free Press, and in 2020 I begrudgingly voted for Donald Trump.
I don’t care that my wife and I disagree on these things, but I hate that we can’t talk about it. I hate the fact that my reasonable, empathetic, and intelligent wife can’t see that it’s possible that I have honest reasons for my opinions and decisions. I hate that to her mind, there are the correct, progressive views, and then there are all of those other ones, the ones that are stupid, ignorant, immoral, or (most likely) all three. I happen to be a libertarian/conservative married to a progressive/liberal, but I know for a certainty that the exact same dynamic can and does exist in reverse, that there are moderate liberals who are condemned as godless libertines for the sin of thinking that people should still wear a mask on an airplane or that the president was right to forgive student loans. More than anything, I hate that I am stuck living in a world where my only real options are two dogmatic, moralized, conspiratorial political and social camps obsessively creating endless purity tests, cultish fixations, and bottomless echo chambers.
A cynical observer would say that it was asking for trouble when I got involved with someone that had such different views. A conventional capitalist that likes bowties marrying a (literal) blue-haired feminist? But I didn’t marry my wife for her political views. I married her because she is an extremely caring and honest person, whom I love for many reasons. I hate this part of the dynamic between us, but I wouldn’t give the rest for anything. This can’t last forever. I don’t think that it will. I believe something will shift culturally that allows us to call a truce and recognize that it isn’t a mark of a deplorable to vote against a political party that doesn’t seem to understand basic economics and will uncritically advocate sex reassignment for minors; nor is it a sign of a degenerate to vote against a party that remains in hock to a man that recklessly peddled conspiratorial nonsense that fed a furor culminating with a riot inside the US capitol and which promotes politicians who will say with a straight face that a 12-year-old assaulted by a family member should have no legal right to terminate the pregnancy, no matter how early. That is an unsustainable state of affairs. I have no idea how that knot gets unraveled or by whom, but, by the grace of God, I believe it will; I can’t handle not believing it.
Some letters have been edited for clarity and brevity. If you'd like to share your story, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will remain anonymous.