MATTHEWS: Not everything has to be about politics

Former first ladies Melania Trump, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, arrive to attend a tribute service for former first lady Rosalynn Carter at Glenn Memorial Church, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Whether you work in politics, write about them, or are just a general news/politics junkie who likes going back and forth on social media about the stories of the day, sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that not everything has to be about politics.

Take, for instance, the memorial service last week of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

Carter, who was 96, passed away Sunday, Nov. 19, just days after entering hospice care. She was said to be suffering from dementia.

Among those in attendance at her tribute service in Plains, Ga. were family members including former President Jimmy Carter, who is 99 and who has been in hospice care for nine months now.

Also there and sitting in the front row were all living First Ladies, including Melania Trump, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and current First Lady Jill Biden.

It was Melania Trump’s attendance that seemed to spark the most conservation on social media, with some being surprised considering Jimmy Carter in particular had been very vocal about his dislike for former President Donald Trump.

There was some cattiness expressed along the lines of how Melania Trump supposedly didn’t deserve to be there, that she hadn’t earned the right to be there, even though she had been a First Lady just like all the rest who were also there.

Some even went so far as to criticize Mrs. Trump for not wearing all black, as most attendees of the service wore, as though she deliberately wanted to draw attention to herself.

Leaving aside the fact that she would not have been there had she not been invited, it was disappointing but pretty predictable to see people who were praising Mrs. Carter for living her life with style and grace show such little grace towards Melania Trump at a time when politics should have been put on the back burner.

Something Melania Trump’s critics will be interested to know is that it was Rosalynn Carter herself who specifically wanted Mrs. Trump to be there, as reported by the Washington Post.

“Carter’s family said she specifically wanted Melania Trump to know she was invited to the service,” the paper reported. “In a time of division, she hoped all the first ladies would join in a show of solidarity as her farewell tribute.”

About the First Ladies who were there, Carter’s grandson Jason Carter told the paper that, “My grandmother campaigned against and voted against some of their husbands.”

“But she believed that there are some things that are more important than politics,” Jason Carter also said, according to the Washington Post.

It’s something to keep in mind all the time, but especially around the holidays when you see magazine articles and broadcast news stories that give advice about how to approach talking politics at the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables, as though that should be a thing.

My advice? Don’t.

People spent a lot of time preparing that food and getting every last little detail nailed down so everyone attending the feast can sit down, relax, enjoy, and have a good time.

Why spoil the food, conversation, and holiday spirit by striking up a debate about political issues, especially in this day and age?

Unless everyone at the table tends to be like-minded, saving it for some other time is probably the better thing to do, in my opinion.

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.