Okay, maybe I am overusing the “open letter” concept, but there are far to many people that fit this bill to call out any one person. Also, in these situations, if you call out any singular person they are bound to take it personally. And don’t get me wrong, this is on both sides of the aisle. As it were.
A while back a normally moderate friend on Facebook posted a note railing against taxing corporations and the rich. His issue was the math didn’t work as it left less money for those entities to advance the economy. This isn’t a blog about that issue. Hell, it isn’t even about the governmental shut down. Don’t even get me started on that. It is about people. Friends.
Some of my family don’t seem to realize that I am a moderate. A moderate liberal, but a moderate. The current state of the Republican Party makes it so that they cannot produce someone that I can see voting for. It’s not going to happen. I’m not sure if many of my friends realize this as well. Most of us don’t discuss it. I have family members that can’t stop taking about the “revolution” and beseeching me to check out the Drudge Report for the “real facts.”
So here we go. If you support the Republican Party, that is your choice. Hell, even if you lean so far to the right that you walk in circles. Your call. I support your right to do so. What I do not support is your right to refer to me as a “Loony Lefty” or make value-based statements on my decisions. Once you start making personal attacks against my person and decisions, in an effort to maintain our friendship, I will “de-friend” you in social media. That goes for family too. It’s in my nature to love you, I don’t have to like you.
This came from one of the aforementioned people who lean so far to the left they circle-walk posting to my friends thread how us “lefties” were a “lost cause.” Now, similarly to some of my friends who are walking circles the opposite direction, I might think that people who are willing to shut down the government and put thousands of workers on unpaid furlough in an effort to force the reversal of a piece of legislation that has not be overturned any of the forty plus times you have challenged it is a “lost cause.” My comments in support of tax reform or campaign finance reform doesn’t even hurt anyone. But that isn’t my point. I don’t rage against that machine, so why would you do so to me?
I am fully aware that the statement that sparked this wasn’t made by a friend of mine, but a friend of a friend. At the same time, I have had to reinitiate the Alfano 30′ Politics Rule™ which states that political discussion will not happen within 30′ of me. Though realistically, I tend to do this around family or people I am not very familiar with. The arguments just aren’t worth it.
Seriously I have online contacts that treat me better than some friends and family. Charles St. Michael (a YouTube guy with as dark a sense of humor as I have) leans towards the right. Me the left. Both of us are mostly moderate in our leanings. I don’t agree with many of his political views. He doesn’t agree with many of mine. His posts are still funny. His cooking show still gives me ideas. And were we in a face to face setting, I would still buy him a beer and talk to the dude. Without knowing him personally, I get the feeling he would do the same.
I have an author friend who marks herself as a fiscal conservative so therefore is Republican. Whereas I cannot come to terms with fiscal conservatism closing down a government and costing the people millions in an effort to advance their political agenda. She doesn’t see it the same way. I’m not going to stop reading her books. I won’t refuse to review them on WLP. And I would still buy her a drink at a conference and talk with her. She’s funny and energetic and her stories are entertaining. I don’t think she’s written me off as a Loony Lefty as I am still on her friends list.
That is the answer. To those circling to the left as well as the right. Politics needs to be discussed. But never at the cost of friendships or other relationships. Politics should never replace respect. I bring this out for the younger people. My grandchildren (yes, I do have those), as the schools are starting to lean away from classes like Civics. Though my son (our youngest) did have to volunteer back in 2008 for a political party of his choice for school. We waited to see who he chose, we even allowed him to convince us as to why he thought we should vote for that presidential candidate. Luckily, he chose the one we were voting for anyhow. But I see those programs going away in many schools.
For this moral to the story, I will give you two pop culture choices…