Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Sad

The last four years of our nation's history has really highlighted a rift that probably was always there, just a bit...but somehow, opinions got stronger, more unforgiving, more 'for', more 'against'. Things that used to be gray areas are no longer gray in many people's minds. The rhetoric is stronger, the words meaner, the judgements harsher. 

One of the rifts that has caused me great pain personally is a friendship that I've had for over 50 years. I try never to discuss politics, because I know that we will disagree. What made it hard is that sometimes there were topics that started off not being political at all, but managed to turn the conversation in that direction. The very hardest thing for me is that she believes things that simply are not true. Conspiracies. Lying media. Easily disproven things. 

She will state her opinion on something, but when I say anything to the effect of "But..." she comes back with a sharply worded, "I've done my research, and you're not going to change my mind." 

I've tried listening without comment.

What I feel is choked, and as if each word has to be checked. I imagine that she probably feels the very same way. 

This is something that I have been tossing over for a very long time. 

Yesterday, she called me. During the course of our conversation, she asked a question. It wasn't an innocent question. It was something that she wanted to know that would 'check a box' in her mind. I knew that she was making a decision. I answered the question honestly. I felt her judgement, although she did not say the words. 

It was a short conversation, and when I hung up, I knew something for certain. I wasn't going to hear from her for a long time. Perhaps never.

It was a strange feeling and once again, I was reminded of Rumi: "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there."

Maybe. It could happen. 

But, you know, I remember another field, before the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing. We were 12, and she was my very best friend. I miss that.




22 comments:

  1. How very sad. There used to be such things as truths and behaviors that we could agree on, and civil discussions about differences of opinions. Not differences of facts which is what we're dealing with now. There are too many conspiracies, fantasies and dangerous ideas that we can't argue against. Brainwashing is real, but why is it working so well? Although it's sad to lose friends and family, I try to tell myself that to everything (and everyone) there is a season. I can still treasure the past relationship while knowing that the basis of friendship and love no longer exists. I've had to back away or even say goodbye to those who have become toxic and stressful, and it is very hard.

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  2. I was thinking you are better off not knowing her as I read on but you wisely left the dramatic punch line to the end. It is very sad. We managed to be friends with a former conservative politician for many years and truly lamented his death. While our ideologies were opposed, at least he was a decent and reasonable person. If he began to talk about politics or exhibited his conservative and intolerant views, I would reply with, "Well (communist) Comrade, it's like this...". It's a great quote from Macleish.

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  3. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground with some people nowadays, it's so sad

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  4. That is sad and I feel for you. I agree with some people it's their way or no way. I really hate it when you are having a really good discussion with someone and then they reduce it to getting personal and nasty. There is no need.

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  5. Sadly people change and we realise that the person we once knew is not the same person now.

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  6. That is very sad, but sometimes you have to move on.
    At least you both know that if needed you both know where the other is.

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  7. It is very sad to lose such a long-term friend, but it seems that the friendship cannot survive such deep division.
    Life is too short to be so unhappy with a situation that you can change.

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  8. I didn’t speak to a family member for nearly 10 years. She has a very fanciful imagination and I had to listen to her ramblings but if I mentioned anything I believed in, she always turned the subject round to her thinking. She said something horrible and personal so I sent an email suggesting an apology but none came. I simply didn’t engage with her after that, (having said it would happen) so she wasn’t unaware of the consequences of her actions. Now we are speaking but she is more neutral in her tone.

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  9. That "do your research" line is fave of the conspiracists. They don't get the irony at all.

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  10. AC: I love when they describe themselves as 'Woke AF'. 'Deluded AF' is more like it.

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  11. We all grow up and mature differently in many ways, including opinions. I've had many great friendships in life that I would still like to have today but we just grew apart for whatever reason. I try to look at the positive side of losing a friend is that it frees up time to perhaps befriend someone who is more like me in some way than the prior one who grew apart.

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  12. I have childhood friends who are in exactly the same position. We've had a few political exchanges via Facebook but I've basically stopped talking politics with them. I've decided I'll remain friends with them despite their delusions, but if they pulled the plug I couldn't do anything about it. I'd be sad, like you, but that's their choice. I can't be responsible for other people's actions, and certainly not for their delusions!

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  13. It is really strange to me how some people would rather believe memes that people post on Facebook with conspiracy theories than to believe science. I still dread getting on Facebook. The hatred is so tangible I can feel it, although that's probably because I have a poor self-image of myself. These last four years have changed me, and not for the better.

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  14. That is such a tough situation. Actually your friend sounds to me almost like someone in the grip of a cult.To call to ask you a seemingly innocent question with the idea of rejecting you if you replied "wrongly" may not be the kind of normal friendly thing she might have done in the past. It almost sounds like she might have been hoping you'd give her the answer she wanted to hear. If something bad has got hold of your friend's heart , you can't change that, but if she ever changes back, perhaps you'll feel you can be there for her.

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  15. There's a lot of this going on these days.

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  16. Debbie, I am so sorry. I had (past tense) two dear friends, fifty years friend with one and sixty the other. Through everything together, divorce, children, work. Both grew into the other political persuasion, so we didn't talk politics. No matter, we has much else to talk about. Then shortly into this last administration, separately, each of them told me we could no longer be friends. One said we never had anything in common, the other an even lamer excuse. And now I can think of them as sympathizing with those insurrectionists, and it's OK we aren't friends.

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  17. I’ve had friends with different political leanings my entire life. With some I would discuss and/or debate; with others we chose not to. I never thought of letting it affect a friendship. These past four years, however, put that to the test for my wife and me as we were pushed to the brink. We decided if we lost a friendship, so be it. To our knowledge we did not ... but once I start getting out again, if I notice someone giving me the cold shoulder, I might know why!

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  18. This happened to me also with my sister. I went away for a few years because i was a young man doing those things. We stayed in touch for holidays.
    When our parents died, we came home. I was so surprised to see that my sister was listening to the likes of Limbaugh and Alex Jones! She had a married boyfriend who was keeping her on the side!
    Everything that this Marjorie Taylor Greene is saying, she was doing it too! This happened in winter 2014.
    I still think about my sister but i have not spoken with her ever since. It hurts.

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  19. You know, it really is a wonderful thing to simply know that others are dealing with this same situation. If I have to be honest, this has been coming for a long time, not just the last four years.

    I wonder if we will ever get past these divisions as a nation? As a world?

    Thanks everyone.

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  20. That's disappointing but does occur, unfortunately. Of course we aren't obligated to answer every question that is asked of us, but can be easier said than done and too late in this instance, anyway. Ideally, we could say, "we agree to disagree" but not always possible with everyone.

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  21. I guess that while she was making her decision, I was making one of my own. She asked the question. I could have told her that it wasn't her business (because it wasn't, really) but in the end decided, without putting actual words to it, "enough." I answered it knowing what her response would be. I let her go.

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