Don’t Talk Politics at Block Parties

I live in a friendly neighborhood, the kind they used to have in the mid twentieth century before parents got paranoid about their kids getting lost or kidnapped. Ladies shared family secrets over cups of morning coffee. They took breaks from household chores to gossip over the back fence. There were no play dates. Kids just went out into the front yard to see who was passing by on their bike. Information was exchanged about the latest child behavior theories or the best brand of washer and dryer to buy. Politics was not the topic of the day in those years.

This sets the tone for my own conversations with neighbors. It gets down to heavy political debates. Is the president up to snuff or not? Who else is going to quit this administration? Are there more scandals in the works? Block parties are not just times to drink lemonade and barbecue burgers in the street. When vocal tones are heated it is time to call a halt to political discussions. Maybe we shouldn’t bring them up at such family events. Why was my neighbor yelling at me? Did he have more than enough from the outdoor kegerator set out by the communal grill? It is a time to indulge as no one has to drive home and we all want to relax and kick back. I think he had kicked back a few too many brews.

I was sure we would end up as enemies when he was back to his senses and the beer was properly digested and the alcohol out of his system. Interestingly enough, when I encountered him in the driveway (we always at least wave or say hello), he acted as if nothing had happened. I responded in kind, which means I said nothing about the evening before and our political tangle. We were friends once again and the matter was forgotten. I was a bit concerned and my fears were promptly allayed. This doesn’t always happen with people in my life. Some hold grudges forever.

Human nature is always surprising me, but when people hit the kegerator hard and fast, I shouldn’t be amazed by what happens. After a mere two beers, my neighbor had turned into a bear with odd political beliefs. There was absolutely no meeting of minds last night. I asked myself whether I would ever invite him to a backyard party in the future. I didn’t want to be the object of his wrath. He is mad about something and it is President Trump. It is this or that issue, maybe all of them. Ha! I think we should stick to the old family topics of yesteryear. Men talked about sports and women their kids or cooking. Everyone seemed wholesome and polite. Remember those old TV shoes from the early days showed typical arguments took place around things like the wife denting the family car or the kid breaking the kitchen window with his errant baseball. Problems were never more severe than that. Politics were reserved to other shows like Meet the Press.