Background: I am a junior developer at a large software company. The person in question is a senior PM who reports to my skip-level manager (my manager's manager). My manager has worked with the senior PM before, advocated for him to be hired and the senior PM holds significant sway in our organization. I've been on the team for about 18 months, first as a contractor and was brought on full time about 4 months ago. My team frequently has lunch together, and this PM often joins us.
During 3 separate lunch conversations about politics (which is a frequent topic of discussion), I have expressed what basically amount to anti-war views about current happenings in US foreign/domestic policy. These are not wildly controversial or conspiracy laden views. You could find similar arguments to mine made in the opinion section of major news organizations. In each case, the senior PM in question very condescendingly and forcefully stated that my opinions were wrong. There was no room for debate, or any sense that we were having a conversation as equals. His view was right, mine was wrong and based on a lack of understanding of how the world works.
If I were not at work, I would have pretty forcefully argued back, as in each case they were on topics I am well versed in and are opinions which are strongly held and (I like to think) well reasoned. Given the large disparity in our place in the corporate power structure and the forcefulness of his dismissal, I just kind of bit my tongue and withdrew from the conversation.
This seemed like the right response at the time, as he showed no signs of considering other points of view and it was generally just going to be a dead end of an argument. Responding with equal force or insisting I knew better risked making him mad or causing some awkward tension at the table and generally seemed like a no-win situation for me.
I have generally written this off as "he's a pompous jackass whom I won't be discussing politics with anymore", but I've been left with the impression that he now sees me as naïve and not particularly intelligent. While on the one hand, I don't really care what he thinks and am perfectly capable of working with him without liking him, he holds considerable sway and works frequently with people who will decide my future promotions/bonuses/raises. If this is his opinion and it spreads to my manager, my managers manager, etc, it could negatively impact my career. I am aware my on the job performance will (or at least should) be the biggest factor in these areas, but I know office politics plays at least some role as well.
Further, this has just really gotten under my skin, as here I am posting about it online several weeks later. I've mostly stopped attending the team lunches because I don't want be talked to so condescendingly by this person. When I do attend and the senior PM is present, I just don't talk and come up with a reason to leave early. Avoiding the lunches as I have been seems like the wrong move as I can tell these are important team-building opportunities to my manager, but I've no interest in talking to this person.
So my questions are: Is there any benefit to mentioning this to anyone else in the organization (the PM himself, my manager, my skip-level manager)? My general thought is no as I just end up looking whiny and it's not really work related aside from the fact that we were on-campus and in a conversation with several other members of the team.
Is there any upside to defending my points of view in the future or should I continue to steer clear of personal conversations with this person? I'm generally fairly composed and can argue on points of logic rather than emotion, but I'm not entirely sure I can do this tactfully at this point. I also wonder if he's the type that will respect being challenged and by not arguing my point I'm feeding into his belief that I'm not anywhere near his intellectual equal.
Any general advice for working with someone who is significantly more senior to you that you really dislike personally? I would emphasize that in work-related matters, there have been no issues to this point. I probably spend more time checking my grammar in emails to him than I would normally, but otherwise the working relationship is fine.