Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

Friends and politics

staying out of politics

A friend told me she has severed Facebook contact with family and friends who still support the 45th president. Social media are full of people talking about doing the same thing.

I have restrained my comments on Facebook, leaving the meat to Twitter and this site, but why would I do that if I am truly passionate about something? If I – or if you – think it’s such a big deal, why wouldn’t we want to share it with our best friends? It’s like watching them ride a sled down the hill toward a cliff. We surely want them to hear our warnings … any way possible!

Be like SallyMaybe we hold back because it hurts too deeply to understand those who are dear to us don’t agree. For example, while we might more easily accept that strangers display racist and hate-filled tendencies, we don’t want to think that of friends.

The painful truth is, however, sharing a playground as a child or working alongside each other as adults or even having a common grandparent does not guarantee your friend or relative is not among those who don’t care what happens to other people.

So, should you break off relationships with political un-friendlies?

I suppose we all have a line we allow others to reach. For some of us, they come to it much sooner than others and I guess that’s the point today. We all have different lines.

With a career of publishing my thoughts in newspapers, I entered this social media craze with an open attitude. Almost all my posts are public, and I will let most folks give opposing opinions. At times, I will engage them, particularly when their statements are verifiably erroneous, but much of the time I leave them alone.

Over the years, while I have blocked tons of fake news and hate-peddling sites, I have blocked only four Facebook friends, each of whom made it a point to drag my family into it. Two of them directly attacked a family member.

So, I guess that’s pretty much my line.

For the record, the two mentioned above called out a relative (whom they do not know) who is active military and labeled him a coward for no other reason than the fact he is in the medical corps. At the time, he had just returned from a tour in Afghanistan. I immediately blocked these two whom I had known 39 years or longer.

To be honest, I have enjoyed not having any of the four of them and their negativity on my feed. That’s not to say we didn’t have good times, but there’s that line and they crossed it.

In my opinion, yes, it is quite all right to cull out Facebook friends and Twitter followers who bring misery to your life. However …

However, if you can stomach them and if you have a message to share, hang in there.

Sure, the world can always use another cute cat video or photo of an attractive meal, but an honest message of goodness might provide a bit of what is really needed.

Another old friend of mine, going back to high school, often reads these postings and sometimes comments, usually in opposition to what I write.

Several days ago, he commented with a couple of points and then closed with this:

“By the way – I love you and hope you call me next time you pass through the old stomping grounds. I’ll buy lunch and we can talk about the old days and all the things we still have in common.”

Isn’t that wonderful? It’s what’s been missing, the ability to disagree and still respect one another, to reach for those things we still have in common.

That’s a lofty goal, but it may no longer be that simple.

Check back Tuesday to examine the question, “Do we think less of you because you support Donald Trump?”

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2 responses to “Friends and politics

  1. Fleet C Ratliff December 11, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Steve, It may be before your time, but more than 50 years ago Allen Drury wrote “Advise and Consent.” I read it a few years later and sometime after that they made a not so faithful movie with Henry Fonda, Charles Laughton and a cast of thousands. I was impressed – that was easy back then. The line that I still remember is “What difference will it make in a hundred years.” I still think Drury was an insightful author and it might apply to today’s world.

    Like

    • Steve Martaindale December 12, 2017 at 8:54 am

      Gotta say, I laughed at “a not so faithful movie,” which seems to apply to just about any book-turned-film.

      I hear what you’re saying and it’s a feeling applied to many things in the past. It’s just that what we’re seeing Trump and many in the GOP trying to do now doesn’t seem nearly that benign.

      Like

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