Had an interesting conversation with an older friend today.
Steve works for the coffee company that provides foods and services to The Beanery where I go to write every day. That's where I met him. He's about twelve years older than me and as I've gotten to know him, I've learned that he leans toward being a Libertarian. I'm more progressive.
We rarely talk politics, expounding more about the commonalities of our military experiences. He served a tour aboard an aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Tonkin in the early days of the Great American Unpleasantness in Vietnam. I was career Air Force. We were both enlisted. We had a lot to talk about. Beyond that, we like animals, he's into making fudge (excellent fudge) and we commiserate about daily life.
I shared an article on Facebook the other day, on my timeline or wall or whatever the hell they're now calling it. The gist was that two researchers said that their information confirms that after 40 years of research, Republicans in Congress are currently huge obstructionists in the effort to address the nation's business.
I'm not really partial to the Democrats but I do believe that the Republicans are obstructionists. I can deliver a pretty big list of anecdotal and empirical information about it. So when I shared the link, I commented for my Facebook community, "This affirms what the majority of us already know."
Steve responded, "Two makes a majority?"
I replied to the gist of, "I what are you talking about? Where do you come up with two and a majority?"
He was at the Beanery when I arrived and we spoke. I could tell he was being cold toward me. I see this as one of our modern problems. We discover a difference of opinion and suddenly we can't talk or be friends any longer.
I have been guilty of this. I feel ashamed saying that. That's one of the reasons I was not willing to let anothe breach occur. Yes, it does depend upon object of our differences. I won't accept discrimination on any level or animal cruelty. If you want to preach hatred, I'm walking away from you. I don't believe we as a country should be torturing people or nuking anyone. Steve seems ambivalent about his. We've never discussed women's choice or homosexuality but his gist seems to be true Libertarian, smaller government and stay out of our lives. He's not interested in regulating marriages or bedrooms.
I opened up the can of worms. Yes, we had a difference of opinion. So what? We've enjoyed one another's company. I respect him and I like him. I thought he reciprocated. It's his call. He can let political differences stand between friendship, or he can rise above it.
Steve didn't really address it. He wanted to argue it. I wouldn't. He's not going to convert me in the coffee shop and I'm not interested in trying to convert him. He's already told me he listens almost exclusively to Fox News radio and watches Fox News. He's big Rush fan, which troubles me, given Rush's many positions. I watch Rachel Maddow, which bugs him.
So be it. He had a bandage on his arm. I asked what had happened. He explained he'd been changing a flourescent tube and the plastic light cover fell and cut him. He went on that as he's aged, he's found that he cuts more easily. It's like his skin is becoming paper thin. "You know the lesson there?" he asked. I shook my head. He smiled. "Don't get old."
It's a difficult slope. I hope our friendship will be all right.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com