DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’ve made many friends throughout the world on social media, and as we approach the upcoming national election, they have overloaded me with information criticizing the political administration of this country -- strenuously advising me on how to vote to change it.
They send me articles detailing one political situation after another, as if I were totally unaware of what is happening here. And it is always with a distinct point of view.
Mostly, I agree with what they’re saying, except they tend to stereotype Americans as people who need to be educated against making bad choices -- implying that I am in that group, as well.
How do I thank my international friends for their opinions, yet politely discourage any further advice? By the way, I offer no recommendations on how they should fix their own political systems, many of which are similarly problematic.
GENTLE READER: That is because it is so much easier to fix other people’s problems than one’s own. Here is the response Miss Manners recommends:
“I am pleased at your interest in the American political situation. And while you seem to be on the right track, I’m sure you appreciate the complications with which even we, who follow this minutely, must struggle.” And then suggest two or three serious books on the subject.
Thereafter, asking what they thought of the books will get them off the subject, because they will not have read them. Or if they have, you might be able to have more intelligent exchanges.