Tuesday, July 14, 2020

On Losing Friends in Political Discussions in 2020


Not everyone agrees that this might be a lovely place in which to spend the day, either.

     I don't think many would argue with me if I were to say that 2020 is one weird year. Not that I follow astrology, but the unusual features in 2020 have me at least noticing things like Pluto and Saturn aligning in Capricorn for the first time in five hundred years. What does all this mean ? Well it means that astrologically, at least, we can expect big changes on the beautiful blue ball we call home.

             In 2020, we have known media not to simply report news,  but to selectively and inaccurately report issues and happenings as part of an agenda. It is increasingly difficult to get factual and trustworthy data from most news outlets, even those which held the best reputations in our parent's day.  Next we were deluged with complete and repeated coverage of a virus which caused significant death and destruction in China and then quickly spread to almost all the parts of the world. Shortly after, much of the world has been barred from travel. Many businesses have been closed with the objective of prevention of the spread of the virus. Schools and universities closed. Economic life and family life have changed significantly. Bars and restaurants are closed, and since many of them cannot continue to exist on simple take out orders, many of them have closed forever, including some of my favorites. I would probably be preaching to the choir to tell you that many people, as a result of not working, are enduring the most challenging economic times they have ever known. In my own state there is presently a moratorium on evicting those who cannot pay their rent. However, I am not sure what happens to the landlords who can't pay the mortgages, the taxes or the insurance costs on the homes where they are not receiving rental payments.  Since more people are at home, and because "idle hands" are indeed the devil's workshop, all sorts of groups are using this time to complain, riot, destroy and tantrum in any and all ways possible.

             Generally, I don't need everyone in the world to agree with me. I have my own opinion, just like everyone else, and it's enough. It changes sometimes when conditions or consistent changes to my information does as well. Generally, I have lots of different friends from different countries, occupations, and interests, and it's natural for them to have different opinions than I do, on certain subjects. I have come to feel that decent people often do not agree on how they might make the world a better place, and that's okay too. If I ran the world, everyone would be likely to be well fed, and medical care would be top notch. Of course, I come to most things with as perspective of a registered nurse. However, you should not wish me to run the world, today or tomorrow, because if I did, the bridges would likely be collapsing around us, as not being a civil engineer like my grandfather, I simply wouldn't adequately prioritize them.   My friends who are social workers might think differently than those who are rocket scientists, engineers, or surgeons. It's actually good that each of us have different interests and priorities as working together we are more likely to make the world a better place in tandem with one another. I understand that we each try to make the world a better place within our abilities and within our backgrounds.

            When I was a student in college, there was tolerance for those with different views. We might think someone had strange ideas, but we knew they were entitled to them. We also knew that those raised in different families than our own might have divergent views, and that was okay.  Since that time, schools and some colleges have changed. There is "group think" and those who credit themselves with being "enlightened" express what their group believes is "correct thinking".  Of course, the rest of us know that we are in fact, the experts on choosing the elements in and choices in our own lives.

           I don't measure my words much. I give my perspectives and when appropriate, I share the data or the science which leads me to recommend what I am saying. Take it or leave it. Although I am pleased when something I have posted aids a person, a family or their animals, I also don't mind if someone chooses not to heed it, and they decide to go another way.  This year, a lot of people are overly sensitive. They seem to need to feel that their view is the one right way.

             Rarely throughout life I have lost a friend. Sometimes, someone who is a close friend thorough part of your life, isn't really interested in continuing with you when you choose another path.  Some of us lose some of our single friends when we marry or have children. Some of us lose some friends when we leave our old employer to start a new business.  It's probably not realistic to expect that friends we had in one life stage will remain with us through all the others.  However, it's only this year that I have lost a few friends just based on our political views alone.  One of my friends was actually a distant relative.  Where I believe that public school, private school, homeschooling and even online education are all viable alternatives for certain children, and that parents need to seek the right education for the right child, the right family, and in the right block of time, she does not. She believes that all children need to be given to the state to be properly educated and to have "the right attitudes".  I couldn't help but to politely indicate that many US children have very poor test scores, in reading and mathematics, and that many are not particularly productive as adults. Apparently, she no longer wishes to be a friend.   I also have a friend who is very much my favorite singer songwriter and arranger. She has very clear political views, and since I know several people who have worked with and are acquainted with the current president and his family, I don't share her views. And so, I have lost this friend also.

            I understand that a beloved friend from the sandbox might not be kept in high school.  I understand that the close friend you had might not remain so when she chooses to date the young man you dated before her.  However,  I don't really understand the need some others have to befriend only those who will mirror the political views they might have.

            I would like to suggest, for just a moment that we all clearly benefit from friendships with those who have different interests than we do. They are simply available for learning that we ourselves might not get in our own circles or careers. Think hard before you choose to cut out and therefore limit your inputs from others.  Having friends who agree with everything we say isolates us, and prevents us from growing.  It's perfectly okay to have friends of associates who see the world differently than we do. In fact, it's probably healthier than only having friends who drone the identical views to your own.