Thursday, October 11, 2012

Partisanship Over Friendship...?

I heard from a buddy last evening that he had once again been "unfriended" on Facebook by someone who didn't approve of his criticisms of the sitting President.  This had apparently been a long-term friendship and the fact that the person did this stating political reasons was surprising to my buddy.  He said "He told me he'd been offended by my editorials that disrespect the president and are full of "propaganda from mainstream sources".  I have to say, I am really hurt."

I can sympathize with my buddy because I've been "unfriended" at least six times in the last couple of years by people whose political beliefs differ from mine.  In doing so, several of them have stated that they just couldn't deal with my views and comments about President Obama and one said she changed her opinion of me based on the fact that I listen to a particular radio show.  Some have even called me "unpatriotic" because I dare to disagree with their views.  To be fair to myself, my criticisms of the President are based on my observations of his words, actions and policies.  I try hard never to be disrespectful to the man or the office he holds.  And in the words of Hillary Clinton...  "I am sick and tired of people who call you unpatriotic if you debate this administration’s policies. We are Americans and have the right to participate and debate any administration."

I may be wrong but from what I've seen and experienced it's mostly people who support President Obama who are doing this.  I say "mostly" because there certainly are some Republicans/conservatives who state they want nothing to do with liberals in any way, shape or form, but they are few and far between.  And I've never heard of a Republican/conservative "unfriending" someone just because they support President Obama or because they criticize a Republican.

Here's how I see things...  A President, good, bad or indifferent, is in office for eight years at the most.  That's a small portion of the average human lifetime.  If someone is willing to destroy or end a friendship based on a person's views about a particular president, what kind of friend are they really?  If you think about it, it's immature and rather like grade school. 

I remember once, in the sixth grade, there was a girl who other kids suspected liked me.  You know -  "liked" me.  Finally, one day, someone put her on the spot and asked her, in front of me, if it was true.  She said "I don't like him because he doesn't like Bobby Sherman."  (I know - I'm aging myself big time with this one...)  Bobby Sherman was every girl's dream at the time and I, being a typical 12 year old boy, constantly put him down.  She decided that she could not "like" me because of that.  But she was 12 years old.  It's not much different than the people who say "I can't be your friend because you don't like President Obama."  To them I say "How about you grow up and join the rest of us in the world of adults?"

Last night I decided to take a survey.  I'm hoping people will participate but I'm not expecting much.  I'm really curious to know if my thoughts on this topic are correct so I'm posting the following questions to everyone, on both sides of the political spectrum.  I'm going to post just the questions in a separate window on Facebook to see what results I get.   The questions are as follows:

1.  How many of you have been "unfriended" by someone on the left because of your views about President Obama?

2.  How many of you have been "unfriended" by someone on the right because of your  views about President Obama?

3.  Have you ever "unfriended" anyone because of their political views?

I really hope to get honest participation.  I'd really like to see if this is a two-party phenomenon or if it's as one-sided as I believe it is.  Political division is greater at the present time than I've seen it in my lifetime.  And it could easily destroy our nation if we allow it to continue.  That said - it's not necessary to change your overall political views in order to reunite the nation.  But it is necessary to practice tolerance and to be able to disagree in an adult manner instead of hating each other over different views. 

Ever see those videos of foreign government leaders who come to blows in their meetings because of differing opinions?  I don't expect that to happen in Washington because our leaders can disagree without hatred.  But it seems the American people are having a problem with that...

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