I’m here to propose an alternative to the divisiveness of partisan politics.
Instead of screaming and yelling from the banks over the river that divides us as Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals, Blue states and Red states, I recommend that we come together and meet on a bridge to be polarized by other less important ideologies.
Here are some suggested and safer topics to playfully spar about. By the way, these pairings are useful not just prior to the election, but they serve as great conversation starters at the Thanksgiving table next month, especially if you enjoy a good food fight with your mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.
Cake vs. Pie
Marvel superheroes vs. DC Comics superheroes
Mac vs. PC
Star Wars vs. Star Trek
Football vs. Soccer
Seinfeld vs. Friends
Coffee vs. Tea
Beer vs. Wine
Harry Potter vs. Lord of the Rings
LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan
CNN vs. Fox News
Fox News vs. Cartoon Network
CNN vs. Hallmark Channel
Vegans vs. Carnivores
Sitting in drive-thru line at Chick-fil-A vs. Standing in line at a ride at Disney World
Taking young children to Disney World in July vs. Having a root canal without novocaine
Authentic Country Music vs. Florida Georgia Line
Watching the constant action of an NHL hockey game vs. Being sentenced by the judge to sit through a mid-August double header minor league baseball game with three rain delays with both games going into extra innings.
Running a half-marathon vs. taking a nap and saving your knees from destruction
Eating tofu and kale vs. just opting to starve to death
Renting a secure mountain cabin overlooking a pristine forested river valley vs. Owning a fragile and vulnerable beach cottage with a big red target on the roof that beckons every hurricane that passes through each September.
Reading a real book vs. Reading a Kindle that holds 5,000 books — 4,879 of which you’ve never read and never will read because you don’t remember buying them because you can’t resist any terrible e-book that costs just 99 cents because you tell yourself that it’s less than a mocha latte at Mapco and an e-book won’t take up more room on your bookshelf. And you tell yourself the next time you’re on an airplane you’ll enjoy that book even though you won’t be able to find it because you won’t remember the title or the author’s name. But it doesn’t really matter because on every flight you’ve ever been on you doze off before the plane even reaches cruising altitude, that is until you’re startled awake and you realize that you slept through the beverage service which is really okay since Southwest doesn’t serve tequila shots and peanuts. And that’s because before Covid-19 the greatest risk on an airplane was someone with a peanut allergy having a reaction to someone eating a Snickers 14 rows away, forcing the pilot to land the plane on a highway near a hospital.
Wow, that escalated quickly.
OK, well, I think you get the idea. Now get out there and be creative. Use your imagination. For example, instead of getting into an argument with someone wearing a MAGA hat or sporting a Biden bumper sticker, engage a total stranger in a friendly spar about whose favorite college football team is the biggest bunch of over-hyped losers coached by an overpaid arrogant has-been. And be sure to wear well-fitted sneakers with good tread in case you need to suddenly run fast.
Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at [email protected].