I’m an Associate General Counsel at a large state university and a Republican. As far as I can discern, all of the other AGCs are Democrats. I don’t think the workplace is the right place to talk politics, but right now the political chatter about the Presidential election is overwhelming and driving me nuts. I haven’t revealed my political leanings and don’t want to—but unless I talk politics, there simply isn’t any small talk to be had. I’m very conservative and very opinionated (Romney is the clear solution to our economic woes and will advance the interests of those people who truly make this country great; Obama will destroy us if he gets another four years at the helm), and fear that if I speak up, I’ll forever isolate myself from my colleagues. But I can’t handle their crazy liberal talk anymore!! Help me!
Unless you’re one of Mitt Romney’s (myriad) blood relatives, it won’t kill you to keep it in your pants. You’ve already admitted that you don’t think the workplace is the right place to talk politics, so why betray your own principle?
If your coworkers are, in fact, “crazy liberals,” then it’s extremely likely that they categorically view all Republicans as racist, gun-toting, homophobic, warmongering hillbillies. It doesn’t matter whether or not you actually possess any of those attributes, nor does it matter where you fall on the conservative spectrum — the minute you speak up and identify yourself as being one of Romney’s 53%, you’re toast. Even if you’re actually rather moderate and can articulate factual support for your beliefs, the minute you show your (red) hand, you’ll remain forever branded, in their minds, as someone who watches Fox & Friends and chants “We built that!”
Think about this logically. If you feel isolated now because you can’t join in the office small talk, just wait and see how much worse the isolation becomes when you get completely and totally shunned by your colleagues. Here’s a better idea — actively create your own small talk. Pick a topic, any topic — so long as it’s bipartisan and free from any political implication whatsoever — and initiate a conversation about it with whichever one of your coworkers appears to participate the least in the aggressive political discussions. Ultimately, unless you want to commit workplace suicide and spend the rest of your time at your office branded as a Republican leper and thereby forced into de facto solitary confinement by your liberal coworkers, that’s your only option. Hold your tongue during the day, and when you go home each night, you can curl up with your favorite Ann Coulter book and switch on Bill O’Reilly and get the warm Republican fuzzies that you were craving during the workday.
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