I have a childhood friend with strongly held political convictions. They do not align with mine.
However, he is (and always will be) my friend.
We got into an intense debate about an issue (it doesn’t matter what it was) and in the process of whittling down our respective dogmas, I realized that the reason he was so thoroughly entrenched is because he already felt beleaguered by those with the opposing opinion even before I’d vomited up a thesaurus of eloquent rhetoric.
I, like a lot of kids, grew up in a neighborhood where you had to fight…it wasn’t an option. Some kids fought more than others and I’m sure I fought the least, but I couldn’t avoid it altogether. I didn’t win very often, but when I did, I felt guilty.
I now had that guilty feeling again. I didn’t want to beat down my friend, I just didn’t want to lose when I believed in what I was fighting for.
So, I gathered up my thoughts and tried to put them into words to express my acceptance of him just as he is and why I think America is so fucking cool.
I can relate to your feelings of persecution. In fact, I’ll bet lots of people can. But it’s not OK to just put one’s fingers in one’s ears and shout “la, la, la, la, la I can’t hear you”.
And while you can’t believe this is happening (to you) in America, I think it’s all baseball, hot dogs and apple pie. Disagreement, dischord, and dialog like this is exactly what America is all about. From the First Continental Congress right up to the John Roberts Supreme Court.
And the reason is very simple: If you find yourself on the minority side of an issue when the votes are counted…you lose. So we argue to change minds and convince others to agree with us…so we can win!
The beauty of it is that when we lose, we don’t have to give up. We can keep arguing. But if we want to stay as one country, the UNITED States of America, we have to accept that change at a national level takes time. So much time, in fact, that we may not even notice that it’s happening until we reach a tipping point.
If you are caught up in the groundswell movement, it’s a victory. If your side is being overrun, it feels like your country is coming apart…it’s not.
God, it sucks to lose. It sucks to lose at anything, but at least the contest isn’t over.
For the record, my friend and I never fought as kids.
I’d’ve lost…very quickly.