Politics trump everything for some

Sept. 11, 2012

Katy Grimes: A few days ago, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about a couple in a long-term mixed marriage — he’s a Republican, she’s a Democrat. The story chronicled how difficult their life can be every four years.

I would think that every day would be tough, not just every four years.

But one Presidential election, the husband had to travel overseas, so he asked his wife to mail his absentee ballot for him. Instead, she threw it out.

“Bonnie Pollak, a Democrat, weighed her options. Should she be loyal to her spouse, respect his legal right and mail the ballot? Or remain faithful to her deeply held beliefs and suppress his vote?

“It was a real dilemma,” says Ms. Pollak, 58 years old, a student in a doctoral program in social welfare who lives in Manhattan. ‘I decided to do the right thing.'”

Had I done than, I’d be single today.

We are family

We have this problem within my own family–my dad is a Republican, my stepmother is a Democrat. My sisters are also Democrats. My brother is Republican.

However, I am the only  representative of the private sector in my family–everyone else works for the government.

Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner at the parents’ can be challenging–especially because I am a political journalist, and frequently get asked questions about the state of the state. They just don’t like my answers.

He says it took him at least a year to stop being irritated, and to this day he doesn’t trust his wife of 35 years with his correspondence. “Isn’t it illegal to throw away mail?” he still asks her.

Family differences can be challenging enough, but having a devious, disrespectful spouse is entirely another matter. Mrs. Pollak must surely be a pompous witch, and Mr. Pollak wimpy.

Ms. Pollak, of the tossed ballot incident, says when their three children were young and went away to sleep-away camp, she sent each a long letter detailing why it was important to become a Democrat. (Mr. Pollak fired off a rebuttal when he found out.)

“Only a Democrat would find an ethical dilemma in deciding whether she should keep the promise she made to him to cast his ballot or to deceive him and deny him his right to vote. O tempora! O mores!” one commenter wrote.

If Mrs. Pollak’s “deeply held beliefs” don’t involve honoring her husband’s request or his right to vote, she needs her head examined. Apparently Democracy is not one of her deeply held beliefs.

Fundamentally different world views would make for a nasty marriage – especially with her “deeply held beliefs.” But Mrs. Pollak’s decision to suppress Mr. Pollak’s vote is a vile breach of trust.

That’s what this entire election is about.

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