Scene: Competitive brothers-in-law live next door to each other on a suburban street, so when one puts Christmas lights outside his house, the other responds with a bigger and brighter set, unleashing a war of twinkling light-bulbs and neon displays which threatens to ruin both families.
Now, change Christmas lights to national Presidential campaigns, MAGA flags and Biden-Harris signs and you have the makings of a campground battle royale, and not very pleasant for other camping neighbors. Yes, you might be living full-time in your RV and don't have a sticks-and-bricks house in the suburbs to announce your allegiances. Yes, you have a right to post any political statements you want in your space (unless the campground rules prohibit it). Yes, you may well be smarter than everyone around you. And, yes, you might be a jerk.
Just because you can be a political animal in an RV resort doesn't mean you should. You must realize that friends and neighbors don't want to judge you; they want to have fun with you. In this polarized political climate, it makes no sense to alienate half of the people around you for no justifiable reason.
That being said, there are people who just can't help themselves, so I'm here to help them. Here h are some tips for staying out of the political fray:
1. No campaign signs or logos
Not much makes me angrier while traveling than to see décor from opposing candidates from those I support. I can easily ignore the local election materials, since obviously I don't have a dog in that hunt. But regional or national campaigns can be the tipping point for many American travelers. In a campground, that is magnified because of limited space and the unknown mix of out-of-state allegiances. Just say "no" to any political signs, flags or bumper stickers.
2. Have a small list of non-political topics handy
The weather usually makes a great topic for campground conversation. It's one of the subjects that most RV'ers can relate to and have stories about, along with black tank comedies and wildlife experiences. Perhaps a couple of poor experiences in other resorts would be interesting. If someone brings up a political issue, refer to your mental list and change the subject, stat!
3. Keep your TV volume down
Yes, you love the debates and your favorite news network. But why go to all the trouble of becoming apolitical in your park and then let the cat out of the bag via TV?
4. Avoid judgement
There are plenty of points of view to go around, and you don't have the corner on the market. If you, by chance, figure out that someone backs a party that's not yours, fight the urge to think poorly of them. Everyone has reasons for the way they think and for whom they support, and many people are single issue voters. Your party might not have that answer for them. Judge not lest you be judged. Believe me, it's much easier to talk sports or cooking with someone you don't think of as a moron.
5. Avoid becoming a political evangelist
I know what I think when I see a well-dressed couple coming to my door with a Bible in their hands... where can I hide? The last thing I want is a religious discussion at my front door. The campground should be a place of safety and comfort, in my opinion, and no travelers should be subjected to religious, political or marketing discussions that they want no part of, especially as members of a captive audience. Social media has given people a completely safe political space to preach to their heart's content. Your neighbors in the park can't just "unfriend and block" you in the non-digital world, so be kind and prevent the necessity.
So, I'm sure there are many other strategies you can think of. Please feel free to leave your suggestions as comments below.
Jack Huber is a novelist with 7 mysteries published, along with several books of poetry and photography. Now retired, he and his wife, Nadyne, are free to travel the country in their 32' 5th wheel and 1-ton Ford pickup.