Betsy: This blog got me unfriended
This evening, while sitting on RA duty scrolling through funny internet pictures of wildlife animals, I came across a particularly cute picture of a moose.
As my family can attest, I love me a good moose. What other animal has so much comedic potential? I knew immediately that this picture simply had to be shared.
I quickly flipped through my mental Rolodex and settled on a friend from home whom I hadn’t talked to in about six weeks, thinking, if anyone will appreciate a moose pic, it’s this guy. Also, it’s nice way of saying, “I remember that you exist.”
But when I went to post the moose on the Facebook wall of said friend, I found that I had been unfriended. That’s odd. Probably a Facebook error.
In jest, I texted my friend saying, “So what was it that ultimately prompted you to unfriend me on Facebook?”
You can imagine my slack-jawed reaction when, about 45 minutes later, my friend responded saying, “I was in a crap mood yesterday and read a post on your mom’s website that just really upset me.”
ALERT! ALERT! THIS IS NOT A DRILL. A friend of four years elected to delete me due to the political views expressed on this website.
Congratulations ladies, you must be doing your jobs if you’re pissing off liberals to such a degree.
True confession: I responded in an equally emotional, rash and defensive manner. Something along the lines of “if that is the maturity level on which you operate, then perhaps it’s best if we just stay unfriended.”
Boy was I mad. Justifiably, yes?
I make no apologies for my mom’s political opinions, or the political opinions of anyone for that matter. And this friend knew all about my crazy, conservative family from the time we became friends. It had never been a reason not to enjoy each other’s company or appreciate cool things about one another. It still isn’t.
I believe that to be true and genuine friends, you get to know the good and the bad about a person – the things you admire and the ones you don’t agree with – be that political, religious, or whatever. Then you accept that everybody’s different and your friends don’t all have to meet some ideological litmus test.
Good friends rise above those things. Example: my best friend at college is a liberal from Bethesda. We do not and will never agree on everything. Couldn’t matter less, though, because this is the girl who invites me to hang with her and her dad over parents’ weekend when mine can’t make it, cuddles me after a breakup, and brings the trail mix when I am stuck at work.
Politics over trail mix? Never.
Unfortunately, I think we all know people who would chuck us overboard because of our politics. As a culture we really need to ask ourselves, At what point do we put aside our politics and just love the people we are given in life?
Timing and irony were on my side today, as earlier tonight I listened to a talk given by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, late of the president’s blue ribbon panel on the national debt. Longtime friends, Bowles and Simpson agree on next to nothing, but they are working to promote constructive compromise on the issue that will, in my opinion, fundamentally define America until it is fixed. Not only is their friendship not hurt by their differing points of view, but it’s ultimately helping them to address a serious problem.
Another of my favorite examples: Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg – BESTIES. He’s conservative, she’s liberal, he’s Catholic, she’s Jewish, he drinks, she’s a teetotaler, he’s loud and sarcastic, she’s gracious and witty. People, THEY DISAGREE ABOUT HOW TO INTERPRET THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA yet they still cohost an annual New Year’s Eve gala.
Obviously, there are countless examples of people who rise above political persuasion in the name of personal relationships. But it seems more and more, there are “unfriends.”
It’s a bumper-sticker cliché, but it must be said again: God doesn’t care if you’re a liberal or a conservative. We’re all people, with inherent value, all precious to the one who created us.
You shouldn’t have to compromise or hide your opinions for the sake of a true friendship. Will you disagree with some of your friends? Most assuredly. Are you respectful? Always. Can you make some topics off limits? You damn well better.
But can you make it work? I’d argue that not only can you, but that you must. Let’s all remember: There are moose pictures that must be shared and enjoyed.