Today is my friend’s birthday. We’ve been friends since the 7th grade. Since that time we’ve had many political discussions, and we’re still friends! Great friends. She’ll always be one of my best friends, although we are very different. But it works for us, because we’re respectful of each other. Besides who says politics and friendship can’t mix?
As I watch the political drama unfold online and on the news, I often wonder what is it about politics and religion that get people so riled up and angry. I admit that sometimes when I see comments made, my eyes roll into the back of my head. Sometimes I get salty, depending on the situation.
Why? Is it pride? Is it that I want to be right? Is it because I’m so passionate about a topic or a particular candidate?
Christie and I could not be more different in our views. She’s very liberal and an atheist. I lean more conservative and am a Mormon. However, what we both have in common is that we’re good people, and we care about humanity. Sometimes our definition of good isn’t the same, and it doesn’t have to be. You can be friends with people who don’t think like you. In fact, it’s pretty fun. How boring would life be if we were all the same?
The reality is, we’re not all going to agree. And though sometimes things make my blood boil, I know that those people think what they are doing or saying is right. I’m not talking about extremists and terrorists here, just typical hot-button issues that seem to make people go crazy. I feel like it can be a toddler tug-of-war.
No, you’re not!
It’s not always the one with the loudest voice wins. When anger is at the forefront, are there really any winners?
Christie works for an organization that fights for women’s reproductive rights. Well, we’re both women. We should at least agree on this issue, right? No. But that doesn’t mean I can’t send her a message that I’m proud of her for fighting for something she’s passionate about. I am proud of her. I can separate the issue from the person, because she’s my friend, and a darn good one. If I needed something, I know I could call her, and she’d be there.
I’m not saying all people on the internet and in the world are good people, but let’s assume the majority are. We can have discussions without name-calling, without questioning the intelligence of our neighbor, without sarcasm. What if there was just good, respectful dialogue? Speak up and use your voice and platform for what you think is right, but please, be respectful. You never know what impact you can make that way. But when we choose to be ugly about it, it just adds to the already hateful rhetoric we have in this country.
If you do happen to lose control and/or say something you regret, even to a total stranger, remorse and an apology go a long way. Pride can be a tricky and dangerous thing. Contrary to what One Republic says, it’s not too late to apologize.
There are times when I’ve wanted to comment something on a Facebook post, and I type it and delete it. Then I type something else and delete it. Even with posts I agree with, but the comments directed toward people who don’t agree are just too much. Some people are baiters. I just have to keep on scrolling, ignore it, put on my favorite tunes and jam out.
As the national election gets into the thick of it, I really hope we can keep it classy, America. Let’s find the common ground.
Happy Birthday, Christie! Thank you for teaching me to have more of an open mind, for helping me to be more empathetic, for correcting my grammar, and for trying to make the world a better place. I’ll do my part, too. I may give you the side-eye sometimes, because sometimes you deserve it, and I do, too. Here’s to 25 more years of friendship. But if you try to tell me that Captain America has been Hydra this whole time, it’s over.