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I took a little breather from the Messy Desk over the past few months. Lots of changes in my life; new job(s), kids off to school, working on books three and four, trying to get my second through editing. Just a lot converging and frankly, I missed it quite a bit.

It's been fun.....

It’s been fun…..

I didn’t miss, however, the negativity that comes with putting yourself out there. Not everyone will share your opinion in the world and it takes skin much thicker than mine I guess. And frankly, I’m not into confrontation. So be it.

But the trend during this political season had me startled. And I’m going to take a serious pounding here and place the blame squarely on you of the liberal persuasion. Sorry, I know you get all pissy with the “broad brush” examples and all. And yes, there are fringe douche-nozzles on each side of the spectrum that make us all look bad. That kind of crap I expect. But I never, ever, expected the unbridled hate that was directed to me from people who I truly assumed were, and indeed, I called my friends. Some of you may recognize yourself here. I trust given your recent behaviors, quite a few of you will never admit to it. Again, so be it.

You can be one of those people who have thousands of followers on twitter; hundreds of friends on Facebook. I’m not quite sure how that works, not sure of the value other than that you have found some measure of validation, some way to massage a flagging ego. I look at friends differently. Emotionally. As a personal investment. If I call you my friend, you have had some measure of impact upon my life, brought some value to it in some way. I may not have impacted you one iota. That’s fine. But since I considered you my friend, you always had my respect, your opinion was valuable and sharing your experiences with me gave me a broader horizon than I would have ever been able to attain on my own.

In fairness, it really started well before this political season. Maybe it was just awareness on my part, an awakening perhaps. Or maybe, I was just finally getting fed up with your bullshit. I started to go over conversations we had had, over and over, trying to discover what inopportune thing I might have said, some thought poorly expressed that would cause you to go into personal-attack warrior mode. I never ascribed it to your political ideology. I always assumed some flaw on my part, even though I never attacked you the way you attacked me. And as always, I was the one who wanted to breach the impasse, allowing your insult to go by un-challenged, putting it off to a “bad day”, or maybe I caught you at the wrong time or some other rationale to cover for your boorish behavior. As a friend, you were more important to me than my ego. I must have said something that pissed you off. What was it?

Turns out, it wasn’t anything I said at all. It is, after all, my unwillingness to bow to your whims, to see it your way. If I wasn’t going to agree with you on every issue, you had absolutely no desire to have me as your friend. Sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake. But thanks to your constant reminders and reinforcements of late, it has finally dawned on me that I’m not the kind of person you would ever wish to be associated with again. Clarity.

The first inkling was when Obama was running for the first time. I just couldn’t get you to understand that I didn’t think I was greedy for wanting the government to stop taking a larger and larger share of what I earned. Simple. I think I called it “government approved theft.” You on the other hand, felt that not only was I greedy, I hated people who were less fortunate than I was. First implication: I want to keep more of what I earn, ergo; I hate poor people. Yay for you, point scored.

It wasn’t long before I was discussing Obamacare, probably around the same time frame. I was warning about the dangers of a single-payer system, having friends and family who live under it in other parts of the world. No matter; again, I was informed that I hate poor people. I just can’t stand to see them get something I have. I was still trying to digest that statement when you told me what my real problem was; I just want to see Obama fail because it really drives me nuts to see a black man in the White House. You caught yourself when I sent daggers. Well, maybe not me specifically you relented, but a lot of people who think the way I do. Yeah, that really cleared it up for me. And you said it with no hesitation, no remorse and no apology.

And so on it went. When I would disagree over issues with friends who actually shared my values, we’d get heated and say something like, “man you just don’t get it! Somebody hit you with a stupid-stick?” Then we’d chuckle a little, agree to disagree, open a bottle of something cheap and talk about kids, our jobs or the Patriots. Not so with my friends on the opposite side of the political spectrum. With them, it was never about a common understanding, it was always about my penchant to hate, well, apparently everyone.

I had a chance to talk to another old liberal friend about abortion. It was just as disheartening. Coincidentally, I’m on the outs with my conservative readers over my stance on abortion. That’s okay, I’m not doing any better with those on the left. “Sorry,” I told my friend, “I just don’t see in the constitution where it says “A woman’s right to scrape her unborn child from her womb shall not be infringed.”” I believe its a states’ right, not a federal issue and at the end of the day, I have no desire to pay for a woman to do what I fundamentally believe is murdering her own child. Take me out of the equation, pay for your own abortions and you and I will be just fine.

Well, maybe not just fine. Her defense of her position had to do with how misogynistic my positon was, and something about how the need to control all women makes me feel superior while strong, independent women threaten my maleness. I think I drove her apoplectic when I told her that strong, independent women could find the money to kill their own children without involving me, thank you very much. I am heartless. I am dangerous to all women and all they have worked to achieve over the last thirty years. It’s men like me who want to push women back into the kitchens and then out into the back alleys. Really. That’s how she defended her position on abortion, how she was going to persuade me to see her view; by telling me how much I hate my wife, sisters, mother and daughters.

Fast forward. Having spent many years following the exploits of the Clintons, I wasn’t surprised by any of the email or Clinton foundation scandals. I wasn’t going to support her come hell or high-water anyway. And it made absolutely no difference who I would have named as my candidate, you had no desire to win me over; no, you were vested only in silencing me. Once you defined me as racist, bigoted, misogynist, a Nazi, homophobic, Islamophobic, transphobic, e-i-e-i-o, you never needed to defend your positon at all. And yet, I never even told you who I was supporting, only who I wasn’t.

Maybe I was going to vote for the republican candidate of color. Except, we know he’s really not a black man because, according to you and your party, color is subjective and one must subscribe to a certain orthodoxy to be legitimately considered black; you know, that specific set of beliefs that all black people must believe in. All blacks. Every. Single. One.

I may very well have been thinking about the republican Latino candidate. Maybe not authentic Latino enough for your taste? Too legal, too documented?

I really considered the female republican candidate. Of course, she’s not really female. I doubt she even has a vagina. She’s not down with the whole abortion thing so we know she’s not a real female. No, the left wouldn’t let her into the “strong, independent female club,” even if she stood in the middle of a ladies’ restroom at the local Target and said she identified as one. No; strong, independent women only come from the Liberal side of the aisle, where they complain about being given the same chance as the boys, but fall back to helpless damsels in distress to demand that the requirements be lowered for the sake of equality.

You based your hate filled diatribes only on the fact that I wasn’t going to support your candidate. No, not the old white male candidate your party offered up in its great diversity of choices; the old white female one. You know, the one who destroyed evidence that was under subpoena; who giggled about setting free the rapist of a 12-year old girl; who destroyed the lives and reputations of some strong, independent women, tramps and sluts one and all, who just happened to have been sexually assaulted by her husband; who worked with the DNC to make sure she would have no real challengers in her primary, selected not elected; and who lied to you, to your face, about every bit of it.

So here we are. The 45th president of this great experiment in self-governance is Mr. Trump. And you’ve made it abundantly clear that anyone who supported him, willingly or as the lessor of two evils, is racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, yaddi-yaddi-yadda. I went to bed early on election eve resigned to the fact that we would wake up with our first female president, a victory for vaginas everywhere. Apparently, Madonna didn’t have quite the appeal she imagined she had and lo and behold, I woke to the gnashing of teeth and claims of “whitelash.” And being the masochist I truly am, I fired up Facebook just to take a peek.

One acquaintance of mine posted that he was absolutely not going to continue a friendship with anyone who may have pulled the lever for the wishing troll. The responses he got were mixed; some were very supportive of his decision. Some were not. One individual, who apparently had been his friend for decades, was astounded that they would no longer be friends because he didn’t vote the way his tolerant friend had wished. He asked him, “are you seriously going to give up decade long friendships over this?” Sadly, the answer was yes. Well, a wishy-washy yes. It was okay if you didn’t pull the lever for the secretary of corruption, but if you voted for Donald Dump, well sorry; you’re not the kind of person with the kind of morals I can associate with. I stayed silent. You see, I’m fucking deplorable.

There are quite a few others posting similar things, people I know well and have for years; some I have known for shorter periods of time but are still people I find interesting. The common meme is if you voted for “him,” you’re a horrible person and they produce the same list of accusations defining just who you actually hate in case you may have forgotten.

So one would assume that I’m going to lose friends over this election. A shame really. In any event, I wish you and your loved ones a long, healthy, happy and prosperous life. I’ll miss what you brought to my life, the jokes, the difference of opinions and the other worldviews. But no, I won’t apologize; I won’t defend myself, for I have no reason to. And as you peel away the years of friendships and acquaintances you have gained over the years, you can settle back smugly into that safe little echo chamber where your definition of tolerance is everyone agreeing with you. Where you get to define freedom of speech as only speech you agree with, that doesn’t challenge you, force you to defend or rethink your positions. Where diversity means everyone is just like you and you get to dictate what it means to be black, female or moral. Where compromise means everyone gives into your beliefs and abandons their own.

One wonders; is discarding friends really that simple? Does it ever give you pause for introspection? After all, if you can disparage people without remorse, insult them that deeply and personally, what kind of friend have you really been to others? And when you’ve cleaned house, you do realize don’t you, that you’ll be left with people just like you; people who are willing to toss you from their lives if your opinion should deviate from theirs?

And so, I wish you the best. I’ll still be here, checking into Facebook every once in a while to see what your dog is doing, what flavor latte you had this morning, maybe chuckle at one of your jokes. I have no intention of un-friending anyone over this for two reasons; one, life is far too short and too random for me to assume I have all the answers. I rely on the viewpoints of my friends and acquaintances to help keep me grounded, educated and humble.

And secondly, I’m not quite sure how to un-friend anyone anyway and If I ask my daughter one more question about Facebook, she’ll un-friend me too.

 

 

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