DEAR MISS MANNERS: I voted Republican in the 2016 presidential election. When did it become socially acceptable to blurt out unsolicited political jokes or remarks? If I did not ask to hear your opinion, I simply don’t want to hear it. This is a very basic social skill that millennials have chosen to abandon.
I have been in a Bible study at my church for about a year and a half now, and everyone in my group is a young adult. I’m not going to try to dictate what people want to talk about before or after the group discussion. If two or three people want to talk about politics during this time, I can join another conversation.
However, when the leader is talking during the group discussion, and 10 to 15 people are forced to listen to this person, it is simply impossible to disengage or start another conversation with someone else.
The leader might say something like, “As Christians, we don’t pray in the name of Godzilla or Donald Trump.” Some people find unsolicited political jokes like this funny, while others do not.
We are a Bible study, not a political organization. I fail to see how comments like this are necessary or even relevant. They are simply rude, inconsiderate and inappropriate. At least 55% of the people in the Bible study are Trump supporters or don’t strongly dislike him; the remaining 45% can’t stand him.
I’m at a loss as to what to do. I understand that people aren’t perfect, and I’m willing to tolerate an occasional annoying comment. Every human probably has at least one personal characteristic that others find annoying.
However, if the leaders keep saying comments like this, I think it might be time for me to leave this group. I think ghosting is cowardly, but I’m tired of explaining how people should act. I no longer have patience for adults who refuse to act appropriately for their age, whether it’s people I date or just friends in general. What is your take on this?
GENTLE READER: That you have a good subject for Bible study. There is a great deal in there about how to treat other people.
Miss Manners suggests you begin setting an example by refraining from criticizing your leader directly -- or condemning entire generations -- but instead talking about the temptation, in these politically volatile times, to jeer -- or worse -- at those with whom we disagree. It might be interesting to the group to examine the virtues and discuss the difficulties of practicing compassion and kindness.
If the response includes cracks about any faction or person, then yes: Find another group.