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Political disagreement and awkward social situations

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Had a couple of super uncomfortable encounters today. While on a bike ride I ran into a guy who was a close friend for a very long time, but whom I haven’t seen or talked to much in the last five years. He’s a successful insurance agent now, which I respect, but has taken to getting involved in local politics (I believe) as a form of marketing, which I’m not so impressed with. He’s a leader in a local organization that campaigns for school bonds and posts a bunch boring stuff about it on FB. During our brief convo, he mentioned the school levy coming up and casually “reminded” me to support it. Not wanting to disagree, I said something like “cool, OK, I’ll do that” and changed the subject by saying hi to his young son. I so dreaded the awkwardness that disagreeing with him would cause that I lied to avoid it.
 
Less than an hour later, a woman from his organization came to my door and asked if she could count on my support. I politely told her that I disagree with the measure and to have a good rest of her day, to which she replied condescendingly, “you disagree with making our schools safer?” Lol. At that point someone else came to the door and I let that person talk to her. This is a gated community where homeowners pay dues to keep solicitors out—I suspect my friend used his connections to the HOA to get permission for the organization to campaign here. If so, not cool.

Anyway, how spineless was I to imply that I would support my childhood friend’s cause? What would you say instead? “I don’t believe in public education, but since it will probably pass I hope the kids benefit from it?” Ugh better but still so cringeworthy. I want to be able to disagree respectfully and shut it down without burning a friend. You can tell I don’t have much experience in these situations. I’ve always lived by a strict “no politics” policy in social situations unless I know I’m talking to someone who agrees with me.  

 

Edited by happiness

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Well, a few answers that you feel are cringe-worthy will lead you to prepare for better future ones. Not too important really. Be proud that you're questioning yourself about it. You know that a fair number of people would have felt positive about his cause, while knowing they did not intend to vote, but yet they would have happily lied and said they'd definitely come out. Since you take ideas seriously, and since you consider your word your bond, so to speak, it makes you uncomfortable that you lied. Good for you. There are so many possible answers. It depends how much of debate you want to get into with strangers.

With door-to-door people, you can simply say you don't plan to, and say you don't intend to discuss it further. No need for any animosity. You can even compliment them personally while rebuking them: "I admire you going door to door for a cause you believe in, but our home-owners association should not be allowing people to be disturbed."

With someone who is an acquaintance, you've got to figure out how deep a discussion is warranted. "I never vote for local bonds"... or something like that may be all you need. And, a more polite way to say you won't discuss it further. 

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