The Politics of Friendship

It’s mid-October. The leaves are changing. The frost is on the pumpkin. And Americans are sick of politics. 

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That’s understandable. We’re in the heat of a presidential election. The airwaves are filled with negative ads. Conflict permeates the country.

Within this microcosm of months leading up to the 2012 election, I co-founded a public forum to discuss the issues with Lisen Stromberg, a writer who usually disagrees with me. Am I a pundit? Hardly.

I’m just an American citizen who discovered she, like every other American citizen, has a voice with which to speak about issues that matter to her.

Notice I didn’t say I discovered my opinions. I wrote about controversial topics like Food, Inc., Roe v. Wade, and Chick-fil-A before the election stage was set. My views have been formed by my beliefs, experiences, and observations. Same as yours have been. I simply began to voice my views more formally and in good faith that civil discourse would rule the day.

My sharing has been met with applause in some camps and disdain in others. There have been retweets and hate tweets. I’ve been unfriended and blocked. I’ve picked up a subscriber or two along the way.

Funny thing is, all this posting and dialoguing takes place outside the context of real life.

My closest friends see me as a person, not a 600-word opinion. We don’t hold identical beliefs. Do I love them any less? Of course not. What kind of friend would I be if I did? Two of my best friends don’t even read my blogs. Another nearly stopped reading once she realized we see things oh-so differently.

These women humble me and keep me real.

Perhaps I am the neighbor who offered a coat and waited with her for the fire truck when her preschoolers locked her out of the house in the snow. I am the postpartum disaster who fell asleep on her living room couch while she rocked my infant son. I am the wardrobe coach who commandeered the dressing room as we shopped for clothes for her to wear when she returned to work. Or the lady who lunched beside her and spoke freely of losing loved ones to disease. Or the nomad who lost her spaghetti colander in the move.

At the end of the day, at then end of the election, regardless of who wins or loses the White House, we will all be left with each other. Does that mean we stop voicing our opinions? Stop talking about issues in order to preserve the peace?

My late friend Alex would say yes. Why let politics get in the way of friendship?

Silence is certainly a strategy. But as my husband told me, your friends love you for who you are. You are free to speak with respect and without fear in their presence and they in yours.

They love you none the less.

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. Proverbs 17:17 NLT

One Thing Remains by Kristian Stanfill. Reminds me of true unfailing love.

Is it better not to speak to preserve the peace or to speak trusting your friendships will hold fast?

 

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7 Comments

Filed under America, family & friends, women's studies

7 Responses to The Politics of Friendship

  1. Good for you for having public conversations that involve controversy. I, too, am happy to discuss topics close to my heart as long as I can truly speak and not fill the air with stats, negative comments. I, too, hate tweets. Thanks for being a voice that calls in the wilderness. May God bless this election and bring about a revival in America!

    • Aimee

      Thanks, Audrey. I’m thankful we are able to express our views and vote our convictions in America. I’m thankful for the First Amendment freedom of speech and religion. More than that, I’m thankful for people in my life who can agree to disagree with me and still remain friends.

  2. Well said. What a boring world it would be if all the people around us agreed with us entirely!

  3. roy

    My religion is my faith expressed by living it. My politics come from the same source. If I cannot speak my mind to you about things I care about, I cannot fully respect you. And I expect the same sort of consideration from my friends.

    There are so many lies being proclaimed – especially preceding this election. To remain silent is the same as approving, which I will not do.

    Just on example, because it is SO easy, and yet had such a large effect. When Obama & Co. proclaimed the unemployment statistics as 7.8%. Now even the government is admitting they had to leave out California unemployment statistics to get that absurd number.

    Will they come out and apologize for this?

    I seriously hope EVERY Obama voter holds his breathe, until they apologize for that.

  4. Pingback: Reader’s Choice ’12: The Politics of Friendship | everyday epistle