I Can Sympathize

Marko seems to want a break from the noise:

I’m just a little off the rails today.  Maybe it’s the polarization of viewpoints online that has crept into every damn corner of my virtual hang-outs, or the continued mental strain that comes from having friends both in the conservative, gun-owning community, and the liberal publishing industry.

Here’s the thing: some of my friends are gun-owning small-government types.  Some of my friends are liberal writers or publishers.  The kicker is that none of them—of either political leaning—are idiots, or bad people, or heartless pricks, or racists, or out to destroy America.  They’re all generous, friendly, intelligent folks, regardless of political persuasion, and I wouldn’t consider them my friends if they weren’t.  I have my disagreements with my liberal friends and my conservative friends alike, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be my friends.

For some folks, I’m afraid it does.

17 thoughts on “I Can Sympathize”

  1. People with differing views can be friends.

    Go find about a Lewis “Lo” Armistead and Winfield Scott Hancock.

    But, when it comes right down to it, good friends can also find themselves on opposite ends of unfriendly fire, too.

    Again, go check out the history of Lewis Armistead and Winfield Scott Hancock.

    Where did Armistead get the wounds he died from two days later?

    Troops under whose command shot Armistead?

    Yes, people with totally different views can be friends.

    That a couple of dollars gets you a beer during happy hour at a lot of places.

  2. Armistead and Hancock were doing their duty during a time of war. That doesn’t describe politics under ordinary circumstances.

  3. I would offer that politics today, in the US, are not “ordinary circumstances.”

    I might even tend to argue that “ordinary circumstances” never really exist, as all political situations are very specific, and there is never really anything truly “ordinary” about any specific time period when that period is examined closely.

    Before the Civil War, I would bet there were some slaveholders who knew and personally liked abolitionists.

    I would bet that during the 1960s, there were “Flower Children” who knew and liked gung-ho members of the US military, maybe even a Kent State flower child who knew and liked a member of the Ohio National Guard.

    I bet there were “revenuers” who knew and liked moonshiners and rum-runners during the 1920s, or even members of the “militia movement” who know and like individual ATF agents.

    Some members of the House of York probably knew and liked members of the House of Lancaster.

    Didn’t even old Billy Shakespeare write some play about a relationship between the Montagues and the Capulets?

    It’s been ever thus, in small numbers, but ever thus.

  4. Ordinary circumstances meaning we’re still arguing, rather than shooting. I don’t see any bleeding Kansases these days, nor any Kent States. The country is very polarized, but it’s been more polarized than this in the past. What Marko is lamenting, and what I am understanding about, is people who act like this needs to be Bleeding Kansas all over again. Things aren’t that bad. We’re not that divided.

  5. Taking a break can be good, but it shouldn’t just be “let’s catch our breath for a moment, then it’s game on.” It needs to be a time to get our dander back down and reassess things under less pressure. I’ve got some friends with whom I’m not currently on speaking terms because I see this “criticism of Obama is due to racism” thing as fighting words and believe it has no place in polite society. I hope that once things cool down a bit we can hang out again, but the reason I’m not talking with them right now is because I want to make sure that insult doesn’t lead to (non-physical) injury by people saying things they can’t really take back.

  6. Yes we are that divided. The current leadership of the democratic party wants to radically transform the country. Their policies are diametrically opposed to the views of a large swath of America, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.
    On a personal level, it is extremely difficult to be cordial to folks that claim your objections to Obamacare, cap and trade, etc. are based on racism.

  7. One of my sisters happens to be a true believer for the other side, an Obamanoid if you will. Find a radical position that some wacky democrat has, and she is onboard with it.

  8. Sebastian,
    My wife is mostly liberal (she claims to be a socialist libertarian), and most of her friends are liberals. I have not kept it secret that I have a personal problem with people who support those who would deny me the ability to defend my family and myself.

    And no one says a thing …… maybe I’m just lucky.

  9. Packetman I sympathize with your position. Among my close friends and family I guess we have an unspoken don’t say something you can’t take back rule. So we rarely go Hatfield and McCoy on each other. :)

  10. My wife and I are the only “freemen” in both of our families. We generally operate on the ‘no politics in the Christmas cookie zone’ rule, if you know what I mean, but that isn’t good enough for the true believers on the Left. We have had family members, ungoaded, go past the “can’t take it back” stage. It is ugly, but not on our account. Guns, church, politics… we can’t do anything right. Literally. Y’all that still have all your friends and whole families, enjoy the blessing while you can, and do all you can to keep it. Don’t let the split be on your ledger…

  11. It’s rare that someone will overtly call you a racist, but I’ve had “You personally are not a racist, but anyone who supports these policies [which you do] is a racist.” This is either disingenuous or it means that I’m the only non-racist conservative/libertarian they know and it’s only a matter of time before that distinction gets clouded over.

  12. I probably have more liberal friends than conservative although some may be more conservative than I know because I tend to try to stay away from topics we may disagree on such as politics and focus on the things we do agree on.Understand I don’t hide my beliefs I just try not to get into discussions about them unless asked or I am talking with someone who pretty much agrees with me.Its the same with religion I am agnostic but have friends who are christian, pagan and atheist.

  13. For me a lot depends on what you mean by “friends.” On my blog I’ve had relationships with a number of guys who disagree with most of what I say, but I like them very much. There have only been a few individuals so nasty that I have at times been upset by them, yet even those guys occupy a good place in my mind. I think the internet makes it easy. The detachment and anonymity makes it possible to sustain these types of relationships.

    Thanks for that wonderful quote from Marko.

  14. I find that friendships are easy to strike up based on whatever common ground IS there… but friendships without respect tend not to last… and I simply don’t respect those who seek to crush my liberty and make me a slave.

  15. Online interaction is different than real life. All you know for sure about a person is that they have access to a computer and an internet connection. Based on that scant info I find it difficult to get too worked up over what people say. The value to their comments depends on their ability to make a persuasive argument.

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