There is an unexpected blessing inside all of the trauma and ugliness of the friendship breakup with Richard (and Chris, as well, who had been posting some really weird stuff on Facebook before he unfriended me): I’m no longer dominated by his crazy Libertarian (anarcho-capitalist) politics.
I was so tolerant, and so afraid of offending my bestest friend, that I didn’t tell him how I really felt about his politics, and I let him go on about how he hated Democrats, they were the enemy, they vote for killing babies, etc. etc., even though I tried to gently tell him that good, Christian people also vote Democrat.
Some of the most religious people I know (including a very conservative, anti-abortion Christian from college, and a preacher) are Democrats.
But inwardly I hated the way he railed against Democrats, even though I was an Independent myself, sometimes voting for Democrats, sometimes voting for Republicans.
I hated how he talked about Obama, how he talked as if the people who voted for him in 2008 were just mindless dupes–as if they couldn’t have honestly voted Democrat because they felt he was the best candidate with the best ideas and values. (And McCain’s running mate sure didn’t help.)
Then he went into that Tea Party and Anarchy, and really went off the deep end in wacko politics. I was afraid to tell him what I really felt about these things, because he started scolding me for disagreeing with him.
Like during a citywide controversy in 2009, when we were about to lose Mercury Marine, a company which is extremely important to our local economy.
But he pooh-poohed that, even though I had already seen my engineer husband lose his job at another company because sales at Merc had gone down, and even though other cities in our state had already gone into the crapper because of big companies moving out.
I “liked” the Facebook status update of the city council president because he helped keep the company in town. Then Richard actually scolded me for liking it!
When he started spouting off on Facebook about nutty things like how we don’t need the police, I disagreed with him, so got chewed out and basically told that my opinion didn’t matter and that I didn’t care about liberty etc. etc.
He even scolded me for posting on Facebook one day (after seeing on Hotel Rwanda how political hatred led to so much violence) that we need to not hate our political enemies! I really began to feel like I was the heretic to his orthodoxy, in his own mind. [Update and disclaimer: When I went back into my Facebook timeline in 2014 to review this post and its responses, I saw that I may have confused his reply with those of some other people.]
In 2000, when the candidates were first being nominated, I looked at Al Gore as a possibility, though later on I did not vote for or like him. But around 2000 I noticed, whenever I took an online political quiz, that I kept leaning more toward the middle, or even toward liberalism. I had been a lifelong Republican, so this surprised me.
When I became Presbyterian (USA, the liberal one) in 2005, I found myself agreeing with the more Democratic leanings of their denomination’s monthly magazine. It was actually refreshing to find liberal instead of Republican politics in a Christian magazine. Which, of course, was surprising for a lifelong Republican.
But in 1998 I was so disgusted with the Republican crusade against Clinton (even though I did not like Clinton, thought he was slimey) that I told my Irish penpal I no longer considered myself Republican. So by 2005 I believe I was a moderate Independent, neither one nor the other. [Wait: I also began thinking more Democratically after reading Cornerstone Magazine.]
I voted for McCain, but that was only because Richard told me about a video (which I found online) in which Obama, doing a stump speech, said he was going to make states pay for abortions, something to that effect. Well, he never actually did that.
I always liked McCain, especially since he kept partnering with the Democrat Feingold (whom I also liked), so I didn’t mind voting for him. But I was still happy to see Obama win. But try to tell Richard that, and oh, you get told how wrong you are….
In the past few years, especially with the rise of the Tea Party, its eventual connection to the Republican Party, and the maddening denials of science and reason and human rights and rights of the poor, which I’m seeing come out of the GOP lately–I cannot in good conscience have anything to do with the Republican Party anymore.
My opinion of the Tea Party did not come from the media, but straight from what Richard and Chris kept posting on their Facebook walls.
I believe in global warming. I love Obama and will vote for him, think he’s a good person/president, he’s just being stymied by Republicans who don’t believe in compromise. I believe compromise is a virtue and essential for good government. I can’t stand Ron Paul, think he’s a kook whose policies would destroy the country.
I don’t believe in a New World Order or Illuminati conspiracy. I think the John Birch Society is also kooky. I don’t believe the government is going to round us up into concentration camps, take our guns away, or force martial law.
I don’t believe there is a “liberal media,” but I do believe Fox News has a deliberate and deceitful bias trying to make people vote Republican. I love the Daily Show and Colbert Report because finally, I found there some sanity!
I believe in teaching science and not religion in a science classroom. I believe God created using evolution, that evolution has been proven, is no longer just a theory. I believe unions are absolutely necessary to keep businesses from exploiting their workers.
I’m even beginning to believe–contrary to what I’m “supposed” to believe as an Orthodox Christian–that homosexuality is often something gays/lesbians are born with, not something they choose, so God must have made them that way, and that they should be allowed to settle down with whomever they love, and legally marry. I believe that people should be allowed to make whatever marital arrangements they wish (such as plural) as long as they’re consenting adults.
I believe the poor and old should have help from the government. I like Obamacare, though what I really want to see is something more like Canada.
I despise what Walker did to the state of Wisconsin, believe he cut or tried to cut everything that’s wonderful about that state’s government, and the Republicans steamrolled over the Democrats to get there.
I don’t believe in abortion, but I do fear the unexpected ramifications of changing the laws on that (such as making the birth control pill illegal in some states). I believe in Social Services being allowed to help the ones who can’t help themselves, i.e. abused children.
I believe in having the police, a fire department, etc. I believe in helping illegal immigrants instead of abusing them. I believe in renewable power, and regulations on banking and business. I believe in supporting public schools and that we can pray any time we like in our heads.
I believe that Islam is not the enemy, that there are many wonderful, pious Muslims. I don’t think political systems are inherently evil; it’s what is done with them that makes them evil. I don’t think Socialism is the enemy, nor do I believe our president is a Socialist. Or a Muslim. Or a Kenyan.
And even though I am Orthodox, I keep finding Democrats in my local church. One of the elderly men is Democrat, for example. My new friend in the church is not just pious, but Democrat.
I have finally come out of the closet and said I am a Democrat, and proud of it!
–Can you imagine the fallout if I told this to Richard (and Tracy) and was still friends with him? Especially when I noted how his other friends tend to be Republicans or Libertarians like him? I can, and it isn’t pretty.
I can be friends with people of other parties; my friends have always been a mix of Democrat and Republican. So I can change from one to the other and still keep the same friends; I just avoid political discussions with them.
For the past two years, I have finally felt free to post what I like on my Facebook about politics!
And about pretty much anything else, since with Richard and Tracy no longer on it, I was no longer derided for not liking gory movies, or treated like I needed to be “pampered” when I don’t, or punished for being too quiet, or scolded for saying that pesticide is bad for the environment and our health, or made fun of for posting about new raffle rules for Greek Fest, or had my comments deleted all the time, or got yelled at for saying “I’ll miss you dearly on your trip, but have fun!”
I can gently flirt with my friends without an angry Tracy on my back, or a hypocritical Richard acting like it was wrong, while he did far more blatant flirting with others all the time!
No more scolding for being too “liberal” in my religious beliefs about marriage, or lectures on how I should be submissive! No longer told that everything I do is wrong, that my childrearing is “spoiling” my kid, while they defend their own abusive behaviors! No more bullying both on Facebook and in real life!
I’m free to be myself again! It felt like a noose had suddenly been taken from my neck.
[Update: Unfortunately, it seems like whenever I get rid of one extremist, another one replaces him. Especially after Scott Walker turned Republicans and Democrats against each other, nobody listens to each other anymore, and I’m afraid to post anything political at all. I always seem to get at least one snarky comment no matter what the subject. 😛 ]