In my ongoing attempt to do something different, I’ll try to tackle another question posed to me:
How can I reconcile being someones friend that voted for George Bush two times?
I’ve had this question in mind for a week, without an idea of where to go with it.
I have a couple of guys on my soccer team who are between far right and raging neocon. They are both nice guys who, besides our different political views, seem perfectly sane. I have gotten into a few shouting matches with one of them, usually over the gulf that exists between our respective takes on reality (and after a couple of beers). This has gotten us nowhere. So I decided to agree to disagree. We get along fine now. We don’t discuss politics.
One of the smartest people I have ever met told me something that took me awhile to accept. He told me that he was glad there were murderers and lunatics and rapists in the world. His take on this is that when people get insulated from the full range of behavior that humans exhibit, they lose their moral compass. Basically, he reasons, we need people defining the fringe of acceptable behavior, otherwise we lose sight of any limit to our behavior at all.
This seems true in cult situations. The members of the cult are isolated from the outside world, thus ‘resetting’ their moral compass. And then they think chasing comets, or drinking the kool aid, or turning a blind eye to your leaders serial obsession with 14 year-old girls is perfectly normal behavior.
So I think it is healthy to have friends that have opposite opinions. When you think of opposing viewpoints, it helps to have a face to go with a belief. We certainly aren’t going to solve our problems by only hanging out with people in our crowd. I think we owe it to ourselves to deepen our understanding of the world by being more open minded and accepting.
So go for it! It is a challenge to be sure, but worth the mental aerobics in the long run.
(To be clear, however, I don’t want this to be misconstrued as some kind of plea for bi-partisanship. That pile of crap is currently overwhelming the political discourse. When two groups of Economically Elite Socialites ‘Reach Across the Aisle’ to come up with plans that really only benefit the Economically Elite, that is not bipartisanship, it is good old fashioned oppression.)