My dear husband is a history and current events fanatic. He devours news of world events and absolutely LOVES to talk about them. He also loves to debate. He's actually pretty good at it, enough so that I avoid disagreeing with him at all costs. Not that I don't sometimes disagree with him, I've just learned not to talk about it with him, especially when he's feeling argumentative. Luckily for him, he has a couple of friends (with completely opposite political viewpoints) who will gladly spend hours discussing (arguing) the fine points of whatever issue du jour he decides to bring up. They get into quite heated debates, and I shrink into my chair, feeling like at any moment they will start throwing things. But it never happens. They usually conclude their little discussion with an agreement to disagree and hug each other and drink each other's wine. No harm, no foul.
The bad thing about it is that if you're one of the people at the table, or the bar, or whatever, who doesn't participate in the arguments, it becomes very uncomfortable. I really hate it when we have new people over, people who don't know my dear hubby, who think his protestations are really serious. They don't understand that he just likes to prove a point, or at least feel like he's proven HIS point. Now that we're in election time, and the economy is suffering, there are a myriad of things that will capture his attention and give him fodder for discussion.
This weekend we had another couple over to have takeout, drink wine, and play cards. It started out great. This couple are two of our oldest friends, and we laughed all night. Until an innocent comment became a point of debate. I felt it coming, that moment...when the banter became just a little too much. And suddenly, the evening was over. They got up, and left so quickly we almost didn't believe they were gone. What a disappointing ending to a fun night.
J. felt bad. He didn't sleep well that night, and decided that he's going to stop talking politics, because he doesn't like when it ends up like that, but he can't seem to stop it while it's happening. I love that he has such strong feelings, and most of the time we can have very informative and beneficial discussions about issues, but I dread the discussions that conclude with someone's feelings getting hurt.
I've always wondered how Mary Matalin and James Carver do it.