Being married to a 100 percent Spartan woman (Sparta Greece, not Sparta New Jersey) we tend to live by "Spartan Rule" sometimes in our house. One such rule is "You eat and drink with family and friends, and you discuss politics and religion with strangers".. so basically what that means is that you never discuss politics with family and friends. A good rule I might add.
But as the saying goes "rules are made to be broken" and so it shall be.
As a kid growing up I rarely remember my parents discussing politics, and it wasn't until the last presidential election that I figured out why. As it turned out my mother is a Democrat and my father tends to lean heavily to the Right as a Republican. And yet it wasn't until I was 36 years old that I figured this out. Why did it take me that long to realize this divide in my family?
As I think back to my youth I can only remember my Great Uncle Jack, an Italian-American retired union garment worker, and my dad, a German aerospace engineer, getting into "discussions" about Ronald Regan and Walter Mondale.
Of course my Uncle Jack, who was born and mostly raised in Italy was always screaming and yelling (which my mother would always remind us kids that "It's just Uncle Jack's way of talking"). He had to be no taller than 5'5", but sounded like he was more closer to the size of my father, who is 6'6".
Uncle Jack would sit at the end of the table "talking" with one hand slapping the table and the other up in the air with a cigarette wedged between his pointer and middle finger going on how Ronald Reagan was no good for this and no good for that. Once my Uncle was forced to take a breath my dad would calmly slide in his well planned out, to the point and fact based response that always started with the word "well."
"Well he did take care of the striking air traffic controllers," or "Well he did bomb Libya despite France's approval."
And with every "Well" my Uncle Jack would slap the table harder and the bottles of wine and the pasta covered plates would jump higher and higher.
Meanwhile, his wife Frida, wearing her apron, would sit next to him and just smirk while rolling her eyes and telling him in Italian "calm down you're scaring the kids." He would turn to Aunt Frida and say in yet an even louder level.. "Why you tellin' me to calm down? Am I yellin?"
But before she could even open her mouth to speak he'd fire off the answer himself. "I'm not yellin'!! Don't tell me to calm down I'm not yellin'!!" But the irony of it is that while he was saying "I'm not yelling!", he was right because he wasn't technically yelling, he was in fact SCREAMING!
And as though my Aunt never made a sound he would dive head first back into his "discussion."