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Separating the Person from Politics

Last week I watched the Barbara Walters special “A Thanksgiving Visit with President and Mrs. Obama.” I was very glad that I did. It caused me to take a step back for a moment from the political issues and to get a peak into the personal life.

While on most accounts I may not agree with many of President Obama’s policies, I appreciated being able to see the personable side of him. That is, to see him as a human being, a husband and a father.

Unfortunately, too often in the heat of political beliefs we can begin to tear down the person…character assassination as it is sometimes called.

I think it’s important, however, that we learn how to separate the person from politics. After all, who amongst us doesn’t have a family member, friend or co-worker whose political views are different? Yet we still love or care for them.

It’s the same reason I have enjoyed watching Sarah Palin’s “Alaska” series on TLC. I love getting a look into who she is as a person…as a wife, a mom and a grandma. It’s refreshing to see that other side.

I felt the same way when I watched her daughter Bristol Palin participate in “Dancing with the Stars.” It allowed you to see her in a different light.

I think we all need this reminder, especially with the holiday season. We will be getting together with family and friends and while politics can be a sore topic, it should never be something that causes us to attack the person. I don’t say this because I am an expert, someone who has honed this skill.

In fact, I have seen the ugly side of me come out when I have been unable to separate the person from politics. Yet deep down inside there is another part of me that wants to celebrate the human side of a person. Thankfully I see this growing and that old ugly side of me fading away.

One of my Facebook friends often talks about political issues in many of his status updates. It always stirs the waters and ruffles some feathers. He has been defriended a number of times because of this. I always thought it was sad that people couldn’t enjoy a friendly political debate without it turning so personal.

So whether or you not agree with President Obama’s policies or any other politician, allow yourself to take a step back and see them as a person. As a general rule, make this holiday season one where you learn how to separate the person from politics.

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