To survive, we agreed to disagree, avoid all conversation that may lead to a "lively discussion" and look away as we cast our votes. This "don't ask, don't tell" policy has been working for us for a few years now and I'm happy to report that lately, we've been able to offer gentle opinions without bloodshed.
Last week, I crossed all lines when I openly expressed my frustration about the upcoming federal election.
"How am I supposed to choose when it feels as though NO ONE is trustworthy, " I fumed, half to my husband, half to the air. "It's frustrating because they all have something worth believing in, but not ENOUGH to win my vote."
My husband nodded agreement - not yet willing to commit to an out-loud reply.
"And another thing, " I continued, encouraged by Mark's silence, "I need to be sure that the local guy, the one I'm actually voting for, is trustworthy, too. Why am I focusing so much on the federal debates? Do you think most Canadians vote for their local candidates or for those we see on TV? What are YOU gonna do?"
Mark shrugged. "For once, Liz, I am not arguing with you. I don't know, either. I'm sort of waiting for you to work it out for yourself and then I'll do the opposite."
I tossed a throw pillow at his head and we both laughed, relieved to have made through the conversation alive.
But I remained perplexed and later, impulsively fired off an invitation to the local election candidates to visit my home and convince me to vote for them. Blogged it. I waited another day before sending it to the local paper, but did post a link on Twitter and to my Facebook page.
Oversharing. It's what I do!
Since then, the letter has made the rounds on Twitter, across my friends' FB pages and the traffic here at Life With Bellymonster has been through the roof. In and of itself, that part's been pretty cool. I love that so many people have written to me, expressing their frustrations and hopes for their own family's future. For many, I gave voice to their own thoughts and they simply wanted to say thank you.
The letter was printed in the Belleville Intelligencer on Saturday, and has garnered a few replies and a few more phone calls. Cynicism aside, the question is always the same: is anyone coming to visit?
So far, I have received one reply. Pat Larkin, the Green Party candidate here, wrote a lengthy letter early Saturday morning. In it, he expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to share his - and his party's -vision for the future and his hope that we might find a time to sit and talk, over coffee.
I've since prepared a list of questions specific to his party's platform and my own perceptions of it, and look forward to meeting with him, ideally this week.
From the others? Nothing. Not one word.
As of this posting, I've not heard, received or read a single response from any other local candidate. In all honesty, I expected to receive a gentle "we're-very-busy-here's-some-literature" response from everyone. And while I'd have been disappointed, I wouldn't have been surprised. It's a busy time for all candidates and they have many commitments to keep. I know that. Appreciate it, even.
But at the silence, I am both surprised AND disappointed. I realize that mine is but a single vote and in the larger scheme of things, means very little. But it still matters - locally and otherwise.
What do you think? Did I expect too much? Do I still?