DEAR HARRIETTE: I am getting more and more nervous about the upcoming election. I am a very liberal democrat, but I rarely speak about my political views. Debates with others just exhaust me, so I make my voice heard at the polls.
I thought my friends shared views similar to mine until someone parked a tractor decorated with a candidate's slogan in the middle of town. I shuddered when I saw it, but I only heard praise for it when out to coffee with my friends. I now wonder if my silence there suggests that I was in agreement with the tractor. Is it time to speak out about my views, or should I just wait until all of the political talk dies down? -- Take It to the Polls, Meredith, New Hampshire
DEAR TAKE IT TO THE POLLS: Silence can mean many things. It could have suggested to your friends that you agreed with their stand. If you feel adamantly about this political race, even though debating may exhaust you, you should speak up and state why you are making the choice you are making. One thing you can do is organize a debate-watching party, where you let attendees know in advance that you are welcoming people who may support different candidates. Plan to have a discussion after the debate where everyone shares their views. Get others interested in what can prove to be a lively discussion. In this way, you don't have to bite your tongue, and you may just influence a vote or two! At the very least, if you are able to inspire people to go to the polls to express their individual choice by voting, you will have done a great thing.