Join the conversation. Be blessed and love y’all!
lovelyishe asked a question:
What is your opinion on the stance that you should end a friendship because of differing political opinions? Is there a time when you believe it is best to drift apart from them or no?
Hey dear friend, this is certainly a difficult, relevant question today, as it seems political differences more than ever are not merely a disagreement of opinions, but becoming an aggressively different opinion of human value, with all kinds of dangerous implications.
I’m fortunate and blessed to have friends with a wide range of political beliefs who are open to discourse or even changing their minds. Not every person on the opposite side of politics acts like the caricatures you’ve seen online. There are many, many thoughtful people across the spectrum that do not fall easily into our biased categories.
My concern is not that everyone has to agree a particular way. My major concern is that our beliefs have sound reasons behind them. When I hear the stories of enlisted soldiers, military veterans, the mentally ill, the desperately poor, victims of racism, both pro-life and pro-choice advocates, immigrants (like my parents), and abuse survivors, I can begin to see why their experiences have shaped their positions on specific issues. The more stories I hear, the more I can understand. I can become a student instead of a critic. I can more easily reach across the aisle, not necessarily to change minds, but to build bridges where our stories are respected in the overlap.
Of course, this bridge-building cannot happen with everyone. Sometimes a person’s politics are so explosive and divisive that it seems they only want to watch the world burn (or as it’s said, it’s a zero-sum game). There really are people who cannot be engaged with, no matter how gracious we approach. But unlike the terrible circus we see online, on Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr, most people are way more three-dimensional than that. It’s only ever a last, last, last resort that I would ever break off a friendship because of politics.
Anonymous asked a question:
I have no idea what to do about the upcoming presidential election. I want to vote because I can, but I don’t see either of the options as fitting for the role. Any advice?
Hey dear friend, at the risk of alienating others: I also don’t want to vote for either candidate. I think that’s a perfectly legitimate option, all the way up to the voting booth.
Here’s the thing. An American President only has so much actual deciding power, as there are checks and balances to limit what one official can do (though of course, their policies are certainly a factor in how you vote). But my main concern is that the elected officials in any government are part of a greater social influence that describes and decides who we are as a country and a people.
I think the question that I ask is: How will my vote affect the story and direction of our country?
I was asked about my politics. About who I’m voting for.
I don’t know who I’m voting for, but I know who I’m hoping for.
I’m hoping for a candidate who won’t use easy buzzwords and one-liners to pander to a party, who calls out who we should be, and calls us to who we could be.
I’m hoping for a candidate who actually cares, from-the-pit-of-their-stomach until their voice shakes, for black lives and cops’ lives, for teachers’ lives and adopted lives, for lives outside the four lines of a party line; for the least of these, for the working class and freshmen class and aristocrats, for shamed and blamed victims in universities; for the mentally ill, the fatherless, the lone veteran, and refugees; for majorities and minorities, those in Wall Street and on the streets, for those in need and those who lead, for the Constitution and spiritual liberties: not to accuse one to lift up the other, but to raise up without dichotomies, without looking for exceptions and squeezing into our isolated categories.
I’m hoping for a candidate who doesn’t crudely appeal to the entitled or the corporations, who doesn’t ride on young votes or legacy votes or angry votes or religious votes, who doesn’t tickle the little racist in all of us, who can pull together a unified diversity and a diversified unity, without demonizing or cartoon-villainizing a caricature of the “other side,” who reaches across the divide but without compromise.
I’m hoping for a candidate who listens more than talks, who hands the microphone across the stand, who questions more than lectures, who doesn’t condescend but descends where I am.
I’m hoping for a candidate who isn’t poaching for my vote by the end results of a focus group, who might disagree with me but still tells me the total truth.
I’m hoping for a candidate who won’t play zero sum, who won’t falsely promise a full pocket by reaching into my other one.
What I’m hoping for is impossible and illogical, and I remain cynical. I might as well be talking about Jesus, and look what they did to him: his cross became his pedestal.
I’m probably asking for too much — but maybe we haven’t been asking for enough: because enough would be someone who had the guts to say, “It’s not them or you, it’s them with us.”
Because who I’m voting for won’t matter
unless we figure out what matters.
I got a hope bigger than politics and polls,
and that’s the hope that we know there’s better and more.
Call me an idealist, or naive, or romantic, or say I’m avoiding the question: but if we can’t relinquish our verbal weapons, we’ll have nothing left past the aftermath of an election.
And really, all these changes that I want to see,
it doesn’t start with a vote, but a wild hope in we.
These changes, really,
they have to start with me.
All this starts
with you and me.