OHIO — Many people could find it easier to talk about politics if they were just talking to themselves. But even if they chat up their inner voice, it doesn’t help in bridging political difference with friends and loved ones.
So whatever shade of red, blue or purple, conversations are core to relationships, which holds true for Kim and Chris Watson.
What You Need To Know
- Just 4% of married couples in the U.S. are of opposite political parties
- Braver Angels started in Ohio in 2016 to “depolarize” politics
- Kim and Chris Watson model political differences in married life
The couple have an active life in southwest Ohio that includes cooking for friends and rehabbing houses.
“We like a lot of the same things,” Kim said, reflecting on her life with Chris. “We’re both way too old to be watching so much science fiction and horror movies, but we do. It’s kind of our thing.”
Chris was in the Coast Guard and worked for NASA. Kim’s career was in health insurance.
“It’s like any relationship, you know,” Kim said. “Hopefully, you have a lot of things in common. You like to camp and all this other stuff. And other stuff you manage around it.”
But there could be a bitter note in this duo’s recipe.
Chris is a Republican. Kim is a Democrat. And that’s less common than one might think.
A 2020 study by Brigham Young University shows less than 4% of married couples have opposing partisan affiliations.
“Kim’s the voice of fact checking. Let’s put it that way,” Chris said.
Kim had her own definition.
“I’m the voice of, you’re gonna kill yourself. Don’t do that,” she said.
Although facts are sometimes a matter of interpretation, it’s certain that Chris and Kim are a rare combination.
Both help organize events for Ohio’s chapter of Braver Angels.
“It’s meeting and talking to people on the other political side that you know, side,” Chris said. “That, you know, you find out you got a lot in common.”
Braver Angels started in late 2016 with a mission to “depolarize American politics.”
Kim and Chris got married more than 20 years ago, so they had to discover for themselves that healthy conversation is part of the marital blend.
“We just have to learn to agree to disagree, sometimes,” Kim said.
They had advice for Ohioans who find themselves in the kitchen, office or family gathering with a political opposite.
“Do a better job of just saying, agree to disagree, walk away. I hear ya. You know, maybe you’ve got a point. Maybe I can be a little less reactionary,” said Kim.