I grew up in a fairly typical Southern family. I think my experiences and way of being raised was much like any other child during my generation (born in 1968).
When I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, Jimmy Carter was running for president. We lived in Georgia.
In my class, we had been asked to write a letter to one candidate or the other. Well, come on - I wrote to the dude from Georgia.
I received an invitation to his inauguration (all of which I still own, it's in the chest we took from my parents' house after my mother died).
I was very gung ho about his running (go figure), but I wanted to ask every person over 18 who they were voting for. I quickly learned that this was extremely rude.
My parents taught me a lesson at that time. There are three things that are not suitable for discussion outside of your own immediate family: politics, finances and religion. I was told that I should keep my thoughts on these matters to myself, lest I risk hurting someone's feelings or offending or alienating them in some way.
In the last week, I have had my feelings hurt a lot. It's one thing to have an opinion. It's quite something else to be (however unintentional) hateful to someone you might happen to like.
Every time I read another person's Facebook update or Twitter response about politics, it further chisels a sad image for those people in my mind. Out of respect and admiration for all my friends, I remain silent.
Because every time you insult my party in a personal manner ("They're a pack of morons."), you insult me as well.
I don't make apologies for my stance, but have some decency.
Because it's the polite thing to do.