Earlier this year I discovered something unexpected about a beloved book series. I was reading Anne of Avonlea and came across an interesting passage. Given certain current events that occurred at the time, my mind was primed to catch all things political. And so I read…
“Diana’s father was a Liberal, for which reason she and Anne never discussed politics. Green Gables folk had always been Conservatives.”
(Anne of Avonlea, Chapter 18)
But are they the only ones? I picked apart the series to find out. Lets start in the beginning.
Marilla and Mrs. Rachel Lynde
How about these two? Marilla and Mrs. Rachel were two very unique individuals who proved to be opposites in more than a few ways.
In Anne of Green Gables, it states that it was likely because (and in spite of) these differences that their friendship remained through the years.
In chapter 18, they attend a political meeting to see the Premier (political leader running for office). Mrs. Lynde attends purely because she was “a red-hot politician” and deemed her presence to be necessary. She went with her Conservative friend, (Marilla) even though the Premier was decidedly not on her “side”.
But through everything, they supported each other. Death of family, loss of health, money troubles…even raising two rambunctious (ok only one was squirrelly) twins together. Friendship endures through the ages. Through life’s trials. Marilla and Mrs. Rachel were so different to start with that I can almost see them laughing and waving their hands in dismissal at the idea of politics.
Anne and Diana
Anne and Diana have one of the most iconic friendships of all time. I mean I close my eyes and I see all the crazy things they went through. All the fun and laughs. Chasing after (what they thought was) Anne’s Jersey cow, Diana getting drunk from currant wine (decidedly not cordial), jumping on Miss Josephine Barry in the spare room (by mistake of course). They also had a few times when they didn’t quite see eye-to-eye.
One such event occurs in Anne of Avonlea, chapter 18. The girls are on a trip to buy a willow-ware platter from the Copp girls, who live on Tory Road in Spencervale. On their journey, Anne asks how the Tory Road got its name. Diana gives an explanation and a jab at the Tory (Conservative) government. But Anne makes no reply. And they continue on as they always had. And Anne gets stuck in a duck house roof. And Diana stays faithfully by her side. And they get the willow-platter! And no more mention is made of politics for Anne and Diana. Life goes on.
We are more than our political views.
Anne and Gilbert
Another duo worth noting is Anne and Gilbert. But they got married! Yes. And once they had opposing views. In a heart-to-heart talk with Matthew, Anne says she is glad that she and Matthew are Conservatives “because Gil-because some of the boys in school are Grits.” However, later in Anne’s House of Dreams, chapter 35, Gilbert is described as “an ardent Conservative”. So did he change for love? Was it a passing fancy? A means to raise Queen Anne’s ire? Perhaps we will never know 🙂 Are similar views a necessity in marriage?
How about some of the others from Anne’s House of Dreams? Captain Jim, Cornelia and the newly married Blythes were thick as thieves and yet did not have everything in common. Captain Jim=Liberal. Cornelia=Conservative. As were the Blythes. And still they did not let their political mindset get in the way of friendship.
Many a late-night chat and playful banter did these four have. There were jokes and there was teasing. And yet their friendship was marked by a distinct absence of discord. In this day and age, I find that profound.
Lastly, we have the unlikely couple which is Cornelia Bryant and Marshall Elliot. Cornelia is definitely Conservative. Mr. Elliot, on the other hand was so strongly Liberal that he refused to shave or cut his hair for 18 years, when his political party came back into power. I’m sure he was a sight and I guess a girl has her pride!
Cornelia’s character makes me laugh. I find it so funny that a good haircut was all that kept her from marrying Mr. Marshall Elliot. I wonder if their political differences added stress or simply a welcome contrast to their lives?
Reading these passages really made me think. Here in the U.S. things have not been smooth sailing on the political front. But the harsh words, the protests…the spite. Is it necessary? What happened to polite disagreement? To friendly banter? To respect?
I wish so much that we had more of that. But it starts with one. It starts with me. I have to be willing to mix with those who don’t see things as I do. To be kind. And yes even seek out friendship from those from other political groups. Food for thought.
What do you think of this approach to politics?