April 17, 2010

Silent Cal and Me

Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth President of the Unites States, was a man of few words.

Dorothy Parker, who was seated next to “Silent Cal” at a dinner, said to him, "Mr. Coolidge, I've made a bet against a fellow who said it was impossible to get more than two words out of you." His famous reply: "You lose."

I sometimes wish I were more like “Silent Cal.” Why am I compelled to respond to statements from others with whom I disagree? These days, it’s someone’s views on politics which will often cause me to respond heatedly if I don’t agree with the speaker’s position.

To keep my blood pressure stable and avoid a possible stroke, I recently decided I will no longer discuss politics with others whose political views differ from my own.

If we are face to face, I get too emotional when I speak my mind, and if we are communicating on line, it’s too time consuming to prepare a well thought out response. I have other “stuff” I would rather do.

So, as of today, I have decided to take a page from the Cal Coolidge play book, and in the future when I am speaking or writing to someone whose views differ from mine, I will simply say, “I’m sorry. I don’t discuss politics with friends or family with whom I disagree.”

There are Ten Commandments but none requires me to tell someone when I think he or she is wrong.