A liberal and conservative walk into a NY Eve party

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

I was 18, home from my first semester at college.

Lewis was 20, home from his senior year of college.

We'd both attended the same high school, but had never met.

And, then... New Year's Eve.

I had seen him a week before at Chap's party, across a crowded room, in that blue blazer.

I thought he was very cute. I guess he just didn't notice me then...

But, as luck would have it, one week later...

we were standing in Nancy's kitchen ringing in 1987,

meeting each other for the first time. 


I was a young woman from a staunchly liberal family attending a liberal woman's college in New England meeting a young man from a staunchly conservative family, attending a traditional Virginia college, who was months away from joining the Marine Corps as an Infantry Officer.


I wonder if we had met in 2020 if one of us would have "cancelled" the other?

Or, if our friends would have "cancelled" one of us on behalf of ....

you know principle. (aka: assumptions) 


So, back to the story.

We started dating soon after NY Eve

and many heated political debates ensued.

Did I mention I was a government major? 

There were tears (me).

There were frustrations (him.) 

And there were hours long phone conversations that we had to pay for (remember those?) where we shared all of our thoughts. 

We never lived in the same place for the first five years of our relationship so we relied on writing letters and talking on the phone. We had no email, no internet, no cell phones. But somehow we learned how to defend our positions without instagram. #shocking


What started out as arrogance and intolerance on both our parts gradually dissipated. 

And, made room for tons of learning and respect

with a shit ton of decency on both our parts.


And, it became very evident that our values were practically identical.

Service, generosity, integrity, education, faith, accountability, hard work. 

The very values both our families based their lives on.

Mine as teachers. His as military officers. 

I gave up my agenda for him.

And, he gave up his agenda for me. 


And, if I had made decisions about this conservative military man based on assumptions I would have missed out on a most extraordinary 34 years, and counting. Dating and then marrying Lewis is the single best decision I've ever made. There is no one in the world with whom I would swap places.


Listening to opposing views, challenging them, stretching my thinking,

and doing so with the ultimate respect has created an extraordinary marriage and

life for both of us and our daughters.

I remain proudly liberal in certain ways and have grown proudly conservative in others.

And vice versa for Lewis.

We've voted all the parties, locally and nationally.

Sometimes we cancel each other's vote.

Sometimes not. And, I couldn't respect him any more. And he, me.

And we love talking to our girls about their beliefs, their ideas, their interpretations, especially when they don't align with ours. 

That's how we grow and learn.

That's how we respect each other.

That's how we remain open, kind, loving and tolerant. 


The first layer of coaching is often uncovering assumptions we think are truths.  

Truths that may be preventing us from living the reality we most want. 

Currently this looks like...


White men are...

Liberal teens are...

Stay at home moms are...

Protesters are... 

Moms who work are...

Single black moms are ....

Conservative rural America is....

Blue/Red states are... 

Rich people should... 

Serving in the military is...

Can all lead to ...

Cancel.

Cancel.

Cancel.


What has distressed me so much these past months is that assumptions are not just alive and well, they are tolerated. They are celebrated.

I'll block you if... This friendship ends if you vote for X.  You must be pro life if.... You must be pro choice if... You are so stupid if ...  We only celebrate women who ... Don't even tell me you are kind and good if you vote for Y.  And to live with sweeping assumptions just prevents one from living an extraordinary life, the next 30 years, tomorrow, next week.... I'm living proof. Imagine sitting across from that person who you judged and learning from them. Respecting that they get their opinion. Letting superiority and arrogance just remain a way of describing a Gossip Girl episode. 


So what I know for sure.

Making assumptions is limiting you.

Promise you.

Erase all you know.

Meet every situation, person with open eyes.

This does not mean you accept, believe or buy what they are selling.

But hating, judging and dismissing is limiting you, not them. 


This is my version of a rant, but in the form of a love letter.

I am no better than you for believing this.

You are not better than me for believing that. 

Sit beside me and tell me everything.

I am so game to listen, not judge, and learn from you.

And I hope you'll do the same for me.

If you want to challenge your own assumptions, I want to work with you.

I now call myself an expert. 

Like... hyper experienced.

And, so grateful I started doing this assumption work when I was 18. 

Send me a message. We'll get to work. And freedom will result.


Kristin 


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