Portrait of a Mixed Marriage

Donkey-elephant

Photo by johnlund.com

Politically, my husband Steve and I have a mixed marriage: he has traditionally identified as right, conservative, Republican; I as left, liberal, Democrat. In a nigh-unto-election year, should either of us be persuaded by the political media machine that urges us to adopt these broad labels as essential truths, we would likely spend the first year of our marriage in warring camps, chary adversaries if not flat-out enemies.

Thankfully, that’s not necessary, because—contrary to what politicians and the media (not to mention your Facebook friends) would have you believe—the nexus of identity and political ideals is never quite that simple. Steve, for example, does not fit neatly into any ideological box. Fiscally, he’s conservative, but on social issues he stands somewhere between libertarian and liberal. He’s voted for Republicans, yes, but also Democrats and third-party candidates. He holds some distinctly right-wing views (he believes there is a liberal bias to most mainstream media) and some distinctly leftist ones (he supports gay marriage as a civil right). The best word to describe his overall stance is probably “moderate,” but it’s more accurate to say he defies categorization.

I, on the other hand, might actually be that simple. Every political-orientation quiz I’ve ever taken places me squarely in the liberal zone. According to The Political Compass, I’m left of the Dalai Lama. Continue reading