About a year ago, an editor of this newspaper recommended that I write about how my wife and I, who are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, manage peace between us in these divisive times in our nation. He thought readers would be interested.
I was not able to fully answer this question until now.
It is safe to say that we disagree on many issues, but the event that epitomized our political divergence was our reaction to the 2016 presidential election. I cheered while my wife literally cried once the race was called on television.
In fact, when I was the Republican and Conservative Party candidate for City Council in 2009 against Vincent Gentile, I was not fully sure she voted for me!
Since the first day we met on a couple of bar stools at O’Sullivan’s on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge in 2005, we have argued about criminal justice reforms, the role of government, politicians, and many other topics.
Over the years, we have learned to listen to each other more, but also to just avoid subjects that were too heated for us to discuss.
This pretty much followed the advice of Jeanne Safer, Ph.D., a psychotherapist in New York City who wrote the book “I Love You, but I hate Your Politics: How to Protect Your Intimate Relationships in a Poisonous Partisan World.”
She recently wrote, “Sometimes the way out is not to discuss politics at all, or to actively avoid particular issues, which was the solution for my conservative husband and me, a liberal, 39 years ago. But it only worked once I accepted that I could never convince him of the error of his ways on abortion or anything else because he didn’t think his ways were in error, and never would. I discovered that it became possible actually to have a dialogue with him once I tried to understand his perspective and to offer mine in the same spirit.”
The reason I can confidently say we will survive our different political beliefs is because of recent events. We just adopted our new born baby boy, Robert Kaleb Capano.
My wife and I have been in South Carolina, where the biological mother gave birth. Once we found out she was in labor, my wife hopped on an airplane right away and was there within an hour after he was born. I took off to the Palmetto state soon after. Due to the complex laws involving interstate adoptions we continue to wait in South Carolina before we can introduce Robert to his Brooklyn home.
After I met him for the first time, I finally understood firsthand what many parents have said — your entire outlook on life changes. Truth be told, my wife was always the one who wanted a child more than me. However, if I knew then what I feel today, this would not have been the case. I will always be grateful to her.
After only a few days with our son and hearing what is to come, I have an even deeper appreciation and respect for mothers and fathers, including my own.
We have tried for about five years to have our own child, but God had different plans, which led us to today. As my aunt said, “If you want to make Him laugh, tell Him your plans.”
Now, political differences between us seem silly in the grand scheme of life.
Our world will revolve around raising him. Fortunately, we have many family members that are experienced parents to help us along this new, and most important journey of our lives.
The only political statement I will make in this column is that our experience, as well as those of all adoptive parents and birth mothers, demonstrates why abortion should be an absolute last resort.
Although I may not vigilantly express all of my political point of view at home, I will continue to with all of you bi-weekly.
Bob Capano has worked for Brooklyn Republican and Democrat elected officials.