He’s a conservative Liberal voter. I’m a pinko Labor voter. He thinks people who work in the public sector are inefficient. I work in the public sector (he says I’m the exception that proves his rule). He loves to hear people getting riled up on talkback radio; I’d rather have dysentery than listen to Alan Jones. You know the saying, “never the twain shall meet”? It means two things so completely, utterly different there is no chance of ever uniting them. Well, here we are. The twain. And we’re united.
At first we (okay, me) thought we could convert each with a few well argued discussions. After a few painful skirmishes early on in our relationship we (okay, me) decided to just not go there. Some people love a good fight but I’m not one of them. So we don’t talk politics and we’ve both learned to make room for each other. I’ve learned not to snort derisively when Julie Bishop comes on the TV. He’s learned not to say things like: “I guarantee you that in five years time you’ll be voting Liberal. Gua. Ran. Tee.” When his mum says that anyone who votes for Julia Gillard is an idiot, I don’t take it to heart. Neither does he when my dad calls Tony Abbot “Dr. No, nowhere man, leader of the Noalition.”
When we first met we were so delighted with each other, so high on love, we assumed we agreed on everything. It was a shock to realise we disagree on one of the fundamentals of life – who we vote for. Because doesn’t who we vote for work as shorthand for lots of other things about us? What our values are and what kind of lives we want to live? I always thought that politics was so fundamental to who I am and how I view the world that I could never be in a relationship with someone so different to me. But politics isn’t just about the differences between us, it’s also about what we have in common and sometimes the chasms between us aren’t insurmountable after all.