Emily Sue Harvey: Proper-Gander

Inside Look Comments (1)

I do hate to see election time come.

You see, I wasn’t a product of the good ol’ American partisan mold. Nope, I guess you could call my poor ancestors nonpartisan. Heck, I’d go so far as to call most of them apolitical. I doubt my great-grandparents even voted. They were too busy farming and just surviving.

In fact, any president, regardless of his party, was almost god-like in their homes, where the current commander-in-chief’s portrait graced the modest walls. They simply prayed for things to work out okay without their involvement. I did not learn anything of the inner workings of politics from them.

However, I did learn from them the power of prayer and trust.

Now I am a patriotic American and enjoy the freedom to vote. It’s the campaigning that gets to me. That’s when the “proper-gander”– as my country kin used to put it – begins to fly. You see, I learned from my clan not to cater to a single, neatly bundled ideology. They saw things as they were, sans rose-colored glasses.

My dad fought in WWII, all over Europe, and once pulled a mortally wounded soldier who’d been struck by a shell into his fox hole and tried in vain to save him. When asked permission to have his name submitted for a medal, Dad modestly refused. Said he was no hero; that anyone else would have done the same. So, yes, he was a hero, and as patriotic as they come. Yet he, too, seemed indifferent to the partisan fever that struck near election time.

I suppose that’s why I approach politics as I do. I’m not steeped in certain dogmas that, in all actuality, do not exactly fit either party. It’s like buying a one-size-fits-all pair of shoes. Ouch! Was Dad indifferent to how America was run? Heavens no. He cared enough to fight for our freedom. I cite my father’s influence, because some of the most hard-shell partisan folks have a long family philosophical history to boast of. Likewise, I appreciate my family’s free-thinking way of deflecting “proper-gander,” which is defined as half-truths and misinformation. I love their 3D clarity when examining critical issues.

All parties practice proper-gander. I smile sometimes at how audaciousness grows and abounds around voting time. But I don’t smile when tempers flare because others don’t agree with certain ideas. I’ve seen friendships suffer over such.

In recent years, a close friend of ours ran for a state house position. During this campaign, he remained a true gentleman. So I was shocked when the character attacks began. Proper-gander was alive and well! I know, I know, I was naïve. But I’ve always believed that friends can disagree and remain friends. And later, when two other friends vied for the same state office, Lee and I felt caught in the middle. Our solution? We told them the truth, saying we would pray for them both and then stepped back into a low-profile, impartial position. We contributed financially to both campaigns and voted our choice.

Are we all still friends? Absolutely.

Even worse is the online discussion format. I decided to toughen my skin by joining one such group for some good-natured political debate. What better way to engage in friendly negotiation and learn from each other, right? No sooner did my first post appear than the verbal onslaught exploded. I was besieged with such hostility as name-calling and being declared an idiot to have such different views than the elite majority at said website. I stubbornly hung in, however, for months, using diplomacy and sincere reasoning. That would help, wouldn’t it?


I learned, all right. I learned that folks raised in a certain partisan ideology have little interest in changing their views. Nor are they inclined to truly listen to your view. I also learned that I was not wired to withstand the hostility riding shotgun to these folks’ persuasive leanings. Why burn yourself out over something un-resolvable? Finally, I learned not to discuss politics with anyone who holds opposite views.

I’d much rather be friends.

Facebook is my social network haven. I adore all my FB friends and refuse to engage in political debates with them. Nothing is worth ditching a friend. When an in-your-face approach of politicians and their backers are posted, I skip over it. Sometimes, I will read these to get insight. But when my skin begins to crawl, I simply delete them. No, I do not un-friend those who post them. They have a right to their opinions, as I do. I respect them and continue to call them friend.

So in a partisan-driven society, how do I arrive at my voting choices? I study all sides of issues and candidates. I try to keep emotions at bay as much as possible. I think of what’s best to preserve the specialness of America. I pray. I keep true to my Biblical convictions, which is not simple during the times in which we live. But this I must do.

To thine own self be true.

Last, I avoid lots of trouble by not listening to proper-gander.

I’m Emily Sue Harvey and I approve this message. No public funds were used for the creation of this blog.

Happy reading!



Emily Sue Harvey is the author of several books, including the national bestseller Unto These Hills. You can stay up-to-date on her blog posts at her website.

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» Inside Look » Emily Sue Harvey: Proper-Gander
On February 18, 2015
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One Response to Emily Sue Harvey: Proper-Gander

  1. Becky Seng says:

    I’m very interested in reading your books. Sat at the table across from you at lunch today. Asked our server and she told me your name. I’m an oldie “85” and hubby is 92 so are home and enjoy reading. Look forward to reading your books.

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