I avoid them assiduously here. Hell, I have no idea what this blog is about, what with the furniture, and the boats, and the children, and the music, and the wandering around hereabouts with a camera. But it ain't about politics. Politics is poison when it enters the home. It's a civic duty. It belongs in public life. It's fouling your own nest to drag it into your house.
I was at a small fete last week. The weather was perfect, the company was pleasant, the assorted children frolicked together all afternoon in the gentle sun and the cool shade without ever a tear being shed. The food was good, and simple, and made right before us and served by the same hand that prepared it. We adults chatted of many things and we coalesced in numerous cliques of various sizes and compositions to do that chatting. Since we are not all in each other's company often, there is a lot to talk about, and much that seems fresh to report as well as to hear.
No one got the urge, not even once, to talk politics.
Why would we? Nothing is settled by political prattle. Points scored in debate are always subtracted from the bonhomie column kept elsewhere. Politics to normal people is treated like what it is: an intrusion into our lives, something that keeps us from what is more important, and what is amusing. Politics is a lawn to be mowed, not a game to be played on it. And the people that involve themselves in it, generally, are either dry as dust, or nasty, or sometimes loony.
I'll bet you every adult at that party votes in every election. I know they are intelligent and thoughtful people. I bet, if pushed, they could give you a sober rundown, factually coherent throughout, of the condition of the local, state, and national polity. And I doubt very much that all the levers pulled in those booths are the same ones for every participant. But I also bet you there's one aspect of the proceedings where we all share the exact same outlook, and simply gauge the likely effectiveness of one political party or candidate over another: we're all looking for the politics that will intrude into these personal scenes the least, or who will allow the smallest intrusions by others -- whether simply to annoy us, or to kill us.
I am deeply suspicious, and perhaps you should be too, of anyone that wishes politics to have enough prominence to be mentioned at a garden party. We do not, after all, throw these parties at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.