Four years ago, I wrote this piece about politics and friendships. Reading it now seems almost quaint and nostalgic compared to what’s going on in our country. Who knew that four short years later our country would be completely divided.
Perhaps that was my folly. Perhaps that was many people’s folly. Perhaps we were too optimistic about our futures and who would try to lead our country. Perhaps I didn’t realize how bad it would get and that I would feel silenced and rejected from so many on facebook. Who knew I would find solace in “secret” groups and find myself depressed after reading facebook (and don’t get me started on twitter… I doubt I’ll ever go there again).
What I’ve learned in the last year is that there is a bigger divide in this country than I thought. I was as shocked as the people in the SNL sketch about our President Elect. I live in a very diverse area. I guess I live in a little bubble. I don’t spend a lot of time in places that are not as diverse and as liberal as where I am now. I knew there was still racism, but I guess I didn’t think there’d be enough tolerance of it to elect someone who has behaved as such.
So, now what? Have I unfriended anyone?
But I no longer find facebook to be a happy place, where I share lots of things with family and friends. I find myself almost depressed there anymore. When people who are on my friends list don’t comment on positive things I post, like photos of my kids on their birthdays or for their accomplishments, or events going on in my life, but decided to make themselves heard when I or my friends or family members say something they don’t like, it’s not a place I want to spend much time. And they post that I need to stop being spoiled and childish. As if my candidate not winning is what’s eating at me.
My candidate didn’t win in 2000 or 2004. I was disappointed, but it wasn’t the same. People I knew and loved weren’t afraid of losing freedoms, rights, insurance, or homes. Though the guy who won those two elections wasn’t a great president, in my opinion, he didn’t have me worried for an imminent Hunger Games scenario. As little as I liked that other guy, I didn’t think he was nearly as dangerous as this new guy.
The people that voted for DJT tell me they don’t condone his actions, but they just voted for a person who said they could shoot someone in the middle of the street and not lose any voters. They tell me they don’t agree with the things he does, yet they voted for a man who brags about assaulting women. They tell me it’s about jobs or some such thing, and yet they just voted for someone who just hired a white supremacist to his “team.” This doesn’t even feel like America anymore.
So, does politics ruin friendships? Maybe not. But when what’s at stake is MORE than politics and you realize that the way you and others view the world and what’s important is so glaringly different, perhaps its time to reevaluate how you want to interact with those people.
I’m hearing about how spouses are mistreating each other because they voted differently. I’ve heard stories about people being disowned by their parents and family members for voting differently. I’ve seen a lot of name-calling and arguments. I’ve seen a lot of ugliness online, and stories of people who have witnessed the same in person. This is more than politics. This is ideologies. This is deep-rooted beliefs. This is a fundamental difference in how we see the kind of person that should be a leader.
And if you came here to tell me to stop whining, or that HRC was worse, I just can’t accept that as truth. Perhaps we’ll never know what kind of leader she’d be, but we do know that she was the better example during the campaign. She didn’t brag about picking on people. She didn’t mock the disabled. She didn’t tell the world that she could shoot someone in broad daylight and not lose voters.
All we can do now is hope for the best. All we can do now is try to find a way to peacefully co-exist without calling each other names. All we can do now is hope that our new leader is a good one who will act for the good of ALL people in our great country and not just the ones he deems worthy.