It’s been one of the shittier months in my life

First there was the car accident. Then my wife got really sick. Then as she was mending, I got really sick with the streptococcal pneumonia that I caught from her. Then the water supply line into the house broke. It left me wondering what’s next? Meteor strike if my luck holds out.
Yesterday, the other shoe dropped.One of my best friendships of years ended yesterday.

It started innocently enough.  He’s a Republican and I’m a Democrat, but that never really mattered that much.  It led to some great conversations over the years.  When you’re on an Observation Post, or a road checkpoint bored out of your skull, you talk about EVERYTHING.

So yesterday, he asks me if I’m voting for Obama or Romney.  I reply that for dozens of reasons, I’m voting for Obama.  He asked what was my major problem with Romney.  So I told him.  It wasn’t the clueless rich guy thing and it wasn’t the vulture capitalist thing, but those were certainly contributing factors.  It was the fact that he says whatever he thinks the people sitting in front of him at that moment want to hear.  It was how he’s had multiple positions on things, and that this wasn’t a political evolution from one belief to another, but a chameleon thing to get elected.

This is a man whom I’ve pulled from a burning truck.  Who only days later threw me down and jumped on top of me in a mortar attack.  I told him that I could not and would not vote for a man who has no honor, integrity, or moral compass, and that I couldn’t understand how a man like Jon who has these things in spades could.  I told him I couldn’t understand how he couldn’t articulate what it is that he hates so much about the President, and that I feared it was because the President is a black man.  I told him that I hoped and prayed that I was wrong.  I left it there.  I mean, we’re at the question now, and it’s a question that I don’t ever want to ask somebody, because I’m not sure I’ll like the result.

When I came back later to post something on his Facebook wall–a picture of the two of us in some desert or other, I found that he had unfriended me.  This is man with whom I’ve shared the best and the worst of me, who knows as much or more about me than my wife, and we can’t work this out.  My brother is gone.

Like I was telling Imani, I’m 42 years old, and I’ve seen and experienced things that have burned my soul, and I can’t stop crying about this.






253 replies
  1. 1
    Lojasmo says:

    God damn, man. So sorry to hear this.

  2. 2

    Oh, soonergrunt, that makes my heart so sad.

    This whole mess is dividing all of us and that’s so what they want.

    I wish I had words of wisdom to share but I don’t. All I can say is that I truly feel your sadness and hurt. And I hope you and he can resolve this together.

    (HUGGG)

  3. 3
    WaterGirl says:

    Soonergrunt, that’s so sad. Unfathomable, really, that you could lose a friendship like that over, well, anything.

    Just un-friending you, no conversation or email or anything, that’s just cold. Perhaps it was done in a pique of irrational anger, or maybe you struck a chord and the truth was just too painful.

    I will hope that he changes his mind. But for now, I am so very sorry.

  4. 4
    Moeiz says:

    This made me sad :(

  5. 5
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    I’m really sorry to hear that, Sooner. It’s never good when a friendship burns.

    FWIW, you’re on the side of the angels on this. Give it some time: he may cool down, reflect, and realise you’re right about the singular issue here, which is one of character.

  6. 6
    Jeff(the other one) says:

    I think it’s too soon to suppose his friendship is gone forever. Give it time, and after the election, after passions have cooled reach out again.

  7. 7
    Lee says:

    Ugh. That fucking sucks.

    Hopefully it is a passing emotional thing on his part and you guys reconcile. It would probably be after the election as it seems the Republicans have a lot invested emotionally in defeating Obama.

    Defriending takes two clicks. It takes much more than that to actually sever a close friendship.

  8. 8
    debbie says:

    I know your pain. I may be missing Thanksgiving with my family this year thanks to politics. I’ve threatened to unfriend one of my brothers if he doesn’t shut up. (“If I don’t use the N-word, then I’m not a rascist.”) The worst for me is how my nieces and nephews (some as young as 11 years old) tell me how disappointed they are in me because I support Obama. I can only imagine what their parents must be saying at the dinner table. This election will be poisoning this country for decades.

  9. 9
    Sphex says:

    I am so sorry.

  10. 10
    ant says:

    sorry man. that sucks.

    Ive had problems with my my long time best friend, and my boss lately as well. Both Republicans.

    Ive known both for over a decade, and they are being noticeably affected by the wingnut noise machine.

    I expect to get fired at any day, and I wonder if I will get shot at my friends house.

    This was not the case 10 years ago.

    Patch things up with your friend, you can do it.

  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    I’m sorry to hear that, Sooner. As others have said, maybe after things cool down, you guys can reconnect. I hope so.

  12. 12
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Oh Soonergrunt, that just completely sucks. I don’t know what to tell you except that I share your great sadness, and I’m sending you all the virtual hugs you can manage. I know it’s not at all the same thing as the kind of friendship you describe, but this wonderful BJ community is with you and offering a shoulder for your tears.

  13. 13
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. Sounds like you tried to have a reasonable discussion about it.

  14. 14
    Foxhunter says:

    Been there, done that…with a friend of 30 years. After a 2 year ‘hiatus’ we were able to put it behind us and enjoy UGA tailgating again alon with the other hobbies we shared.

    It was even over a similar incident involving politics and the racial component.

    Like another poster said, give it time.

  15. 15
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    SG,

    Sometimes the best of friends grow apart, and sometime rifts happen suddenly. Everyone can be impulsive when they’re upset.

    Life can be very painful, but the good times almost always make up for it.

    You’ll get through this rough time. I hope you and Jon patch things up when the cacophony of the election dies down. Keep the lines open. Give him a call in a couple of weeks on a non-related subject and let him remember what you share that isn’t related to politics.

    Hang in there.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  16. 16
    Randy P says:

    It’s not going to heal before the election, but I would give it a little time and at least hope the feelings will cool. I’m sorry that politics is doing this to you and your friend, but I don’t think a friendship like that can really evaporate overnight. We’re supposed to be a country that allows for multiple opinions. We’ve lost that. But don’t give up yet.

  17. 17
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @debbie:

    This election will be poisoning this country for decades.

    To be fair, this election is just the culmination of decades of RW bullshit that’s been poisoning the country for a long time.

  18. 18
    Bostondreams says:

    I’m sorry to hear this. My own best friend has told me he is voting for Romney, though for him it’s the spending issues and Israel. I know, I know. But he’s determined.
    We have basically agreed to avoid politics, for the sake of a 20 year friendship. :/

    I hope that you guys can reconcile, soon.

  19. 19
    Dave says:

    So sorry Sooner, losing a friend is hard.

  20. 20
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Sorry to hear that. No words of wisdom here, just my sympathy for a lousy break.

  21. 21
    Wag says:

    I say don’t give it time. Send him a friend request. Don’t send a message along with it, just a simple request. You obviously pushed some uncomfortable buttons, but I would let him know that you’ve stii there for him as a person, disagreements and all.

  22. 22
    Ash Can says:

    We’re all pulling for you here, Soonergrunt. I’m with Watergirl; it sounds like maybe you hit a nerve and your friend didn’t like the looks of what you were making him face. Let him simmer down for a while. Let him know you’re still there for him. It takes more than one impulsive act to erase years of close friendship.

  23. 23
    mm says:

    So sorry. It hasn’t happened to me but I worry that it’s close with my best friend. Here’s a guy whom I met when he worked for my biggest client. He went out of his way to get me more work. I went out with his sister-in-law for 2 years. When my business was failing because technology had moved he convinced his employer to give me free space in their building to sell them a service that they had been buying outside and couldn’t do themselves.

    If he hadn’t done that I don’t know where I would be. I’m not the only one he went out of his way to help.

    He was doing very well and he was fired to save the company money. He hasn’t made decent money in 15 years and has gone through all his savings.

    During the 2008 campaign he starts parroting Fox News. I had no idea that he’d voted for Goldwater in ’64 and Republican consistently thereafter. He’s so afraid that some poor person is going to get something “for nothing” that he votes against his own interests. He’s sick and is working retail to make ends meet. He’s been f*cked up the a** by the rich and powerful and can’t change his mind.

    30 years of well-funded propaganda that liberals are scum and don’t believe anything you hear except on talk radio and fox has taken its toll.

    I don’t know the answer but I cringe when my friend comes out with what he’s heard on Fox. I don’t want to have a blowup. I just want to have an enjoyable visit.

  24. 24
    Redhand says:

    Sad story indeed. I suspect, as another commenter said, that “you struck a chord and the truth was just too painful.”

    BTW, I think you hit the nail on the head with Romney, if it’s any consolation. Voting for Romney is like voting for a carnival barker, who will say anything to get you in the “Republican big tent.”

    I do hope your friendship revives after a hiatus.

  25. 25
    Chinn Romney says:

    Great peek at Mitt from the local outdoor writer at our local (very conservative) paper:

    http://www.telegram.com/articl.....HVe4LTYHOM

    The first half you can probably skip, gets better as you read how his administration swiped all the fish and game money, wouldn’t return it until the Feds stepped in, then had a presser proudly announcing how they were supporting sportsmen. And after that they forced out the state’s most effective champion of the outdoors, because he was too good looking and might’ve threatened Mitt politically with a future run at the big office.

    “As genuine as polyster”, was the description one F&G official gave to describe Sportsman Mitt.

  26. 26
    ColleenMary says:

    So very sorry, Soonergrunt. My heart goes out to you.

  27. 27
    max says:

    First there was the car accident. Then my wife got really sick. Then as she was mending, I got really sick with the streptococcal pneumonia that I caught from her.

    I hope this is getting better. And you should take care of yourself there. Please.

    My brother is gone.

    I had a good friend a long time ago. Hilariously, we met in a therapy group. (PTSD is, like, fun!) Military guy and all that. We hung out all the time, played wargames together, built shit, worked on cars, all that shit. Guy was an R and I was an I (lean D) and we had lots of chirpy discussions about politics and history. So anyways, Bush the Younger comes along, 9/11 comes along, and he gets this new guy who is totally Lush Rimjob up the ass. If you wanted to know what Fox or Rush was pimping on any given day, just mention politics, and you’d get all the Talking Points of the Day.

    So the dude quits calling me, doesn’t hang out so much, cuz I’m one of them. (In a moment of dispute, the word ‘nigger’ popped out in my general direction.)

    Haven’t seen the guy in years. (His choice.) I’m sure I’m a moocher, even when I’ve always given him more stuff than he gave me. Getting the earful of Rush incessantly basically wore all the good feeling away til you get to the point of ‘what the fuck would I say?’

    Not helpful, I know. I feel bad for ya man.

    max
    [‘In a situation like this, best thing to do is to get new friends, I find.’]

  28. 28
    Elie says:

    @Wag:

    I agree. Don’t wait. Reach out now and reach out again if necessary. You don’t have to talk about it in detail now but signal that you stii want the tie At least that is what I would do. Best.

  29. 29
    ExurbanMom says:

    {{{{{Soonergrunt}}}}}

    I hope you are feeling better, both physically and emotionally, very soon. This goddamn election can’t be over fast enough.

  30. 30
    cactusjackwallace says:

    Sooner,

    I’m sorry man. I know it’s rough. Give him a week and then re-send a friend request. Hopefully he’ll understand and you guys can go back to being the way it was.

  31. 31
    Schlemizel says:

    It seems to me that these streaks happen. It never “hey, everything is going pretty well except for that one thing”

    Instead life says “Oh, you’re burdened with a little suffering? Here, let me dump some more shit on you. And just to amuse me he is another load”

    It was on a run like that when I decided on my nym. Sorry your recent run sucks and I hope it gets better soon

  32. 32
    raven says:

    I’ve had three of these in the last month. I’ve written about one here already so I won’t run it back. Hang in there.

  33. 33
    danielx says:

    It happens, sometimes even with those you know the best. I’ve got a few former friends that I’ve known for decades, and I can’t talk to them because I know we’ll offend each other to no purpose. They’ve swallowed the whole toxic wingnut philosophy hook, line and sinker, and we simply do not see the world in the same way. It’s difficult even with those of my friends who are what I used to consider reasonable Republicans, because they admit – in so many words – that the Republican Party has lost contact with reality. But they go on voting Republican because they simply cannot bring themselves to vote for a Democrat no matter what the Democrat’s policies may be.

    I feel for you, but don’t think you’re alone in having a conflict and a loss like this. It’s everywhere, and has been for years. It’s hard and in some cases impossible to maintain friendships when you feel that a friend’s political stance is based upon positions that are dishonest and immoral.

    Judgmental? Yes. Reeking of of sanctimony? Possibly. But I have a problem with a political party whose strongest adherents – attendees at that party’s primary presidential candidates debates, for the love of god – cheer the prospect of uninsured people dying for lack of medical care. I have a problem with those people booing disabled veterans. I have a problem with out and out racism. I have a problem with deliberate and knowing dishonesty. I have a problem with those who insist that obscenely wealthy people should keep more of what they’ve already got more of than they or their great-grandchildren will ever be able to spend, while those who are scraping to get by should make sacrifices and “have more skin in the game”. Most of all, I have a problem with a lack of logic and intellectual consistency.

    If that causes me to drift apart from some people, I regret it deeply, and just how deeply you already know. But when the alternative is being dishonest with friends and yourself about how you feel in order to maintain a friendship, sometimes the loss is unavoidable.

    It still hurts like hell.

  34. 34
    LP says:

    I have had a friend do something similar to me. We are both religious, but he buys into the “literal” interpretation that his religious leaders sell. They convinced him that being on the wrong side of a political issue could put his soul in jeopardy, and that being and voting conservative (Republican)would save his soul. I expect people in my life to drift away, move away, die off, go crazy, go bankrupt, burn out on drugs or alcohol, and even just get trapped in a life so busy with work that I essentially never ever see them again. But what is really disappointing with my friend is that I know on plenty of issues he can think for himself, and that he does so with wit and intelligence. With politics and religion he has handed everything over to a few loud and proud biblethumpers without any questions. Our friendship did not end in a heated argument, it simply died out in an unheard whimper.

  35. 35
    JPL says:

    @ExurbanMom: It’s not the election, it’s the change in how we treat each other.
    Talk radio has spewed political correctness for years and while ridding the country of bi-partisanship, they also rid the country of common decency.

    Sooner, I’m so sorry but your comments about Mitt were accurate. Someone needs to do some soul searching and I don’t think it is you. Of course, I might be a tad bias.

  36. 36
    mistermix says:

    Sorry to hear about your bad luck streak, hope it gets better.

  37. 37
    raven says:

    @JPL: Yea because things were so civil in Chicago in 1968.

  38. 38
    1badbaba3 says:

    Dude, I feel you. Just found out that the wife of a friend I’ve had since junior high has gone full metal wingnut on Facebook. And by that I don’t mean pro-Romney, as much as virulently anti-Obama. To the point of promoting Pox Snooze and the faux doc 2016 in her posts. She had been the sweetest, kindest wouldn’t hurt a fly type. Never had a problem with her. Never heard her say a word about politics before. Now I’m wondering what the fuck the holidays are going to be like after we trounce the Republicans throwback asses back to the stone age next month. And we will do that

    This is on them. They fucked things up and wouldn’t cop to it. Then tried to blame us when we called them out and tried to clean up their mess. The politics of it, I can handle. It’s the fucking racism that pisses me off and worries me, because my kids are only partly Anglo-Saxon enough for these motherfuckin’ neoNazi fucks and you know how they love to mess with kids.

    Sorry for your loss. No good way to spin that. Give it time. The fever may pass and leave the host undamaged. At least that’s what I’m hoping.

  39. 39
    aimai says:

    I am just horribly sorry for you, Soonergrunt. Maybe its cold comfort to say this but this happens all the time–the Civil War, the Dreyfus Affair, Rodney King. There are many times and instances in which brother is pitted against brother and what seems clear to one is a massive provocation to the other. There is a famous cartoon from the Dreyfus period: a happy bourgeouis family sitting at the table for dinner. The next panel is the family hurling things at each other, the table in complete dissarray. The text? “Someone Mentioned It [Dreyfus].”

    There are some things that go so deeply to the heart of a person that in some sense the more honorable they are the more horribly ashamed they are of their beliefs and convictions. If your friend really loved Romney and believed in him he wouldn’t have reacted that way at all. He would have laughed you off in the same way you would laugh off someone accusing you of voting for Obama because you have a secret Muslim fetish or something. He knows you are right and he is voting for Romney because his “clan” and his friends are. Your words stung him and left him no choice but to defriend you because they were true.

    Write him a snail mail letter that says “Look, I get that you want to vote Republican and that you will vote Republican no matter what. There’s a 50/50 chance that one of us will “win” this election and the other will “lose” it. Come back and be friends either way afterwards. I won’t hold your win against you if you don’t hold my win against me.”

  40. 40
    balconesfault says:

    There is, sadly, something about the modern GOP that is very cult-like.

    And a key to any cult maintaining its strength is for members to cut personal ties from those who challenge their beliefs in the cult. The closer the personal tie … the more critical it is that the strings be cut.

  41. 41
    JPL says:

    @raven: This time it’s not the war that divides us though.

    Does Mitt remind anyone else besides me of Nixon? Watching him lie during the debate sent chills down my spine.

  42. 42
    catperson says:

    Big hugs, Sooner. I’m hoping it was just an impulse thing and you’ll work it out.

  43. 43
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @JPL:

    Does Mitt remind anyone else besides me of Nixon? Watching him lie during the debate sent chills down my spine.

    He’s like Nixon as written by Philip K. Dick.

  44. 44
    Kirbster says:

    Sorry for all your troubles, Soonergrunt, but f*ck Facebook. Don’t let a Facebook snit be the final arbiter of your friendship.

  45. 45
    satby says:

    Sooner, it wasn’t over politics but dear friends of 40 years stopped speaking to me last year. And though they were closer than my family and my grief over the breach was and is deep; at some point we have to understand that the relationship we thought we had wasn’t the same for them. I would never have broken the bond over what happened and neither would you; but they did. I’ve come to think that they are just more fragile, that for whatever reason they couldn’t bear the “betrayal” that a different opinion on a subject was. I hope someday both our friends decide to heal this rupture, but I understand that they may not, and since I wouldn’t change my beliefs either it is what it is. Keep the door open and someday he may walk back through.

  46. 46
    Freemark says:

    Sorry Soonergrunt. One thing you have to remember is that hearing the truth about ourselves is often the most difficult and painful things we can hear.

    I would give him a week, or maybe until after the election, and send him a note or friend request with what you wrote here about your friendship and how important it is

    I know what a kick in the gut it is when someone over reacts like this. The unexpectedness of the sudden loss makes it so much worse.

  47. 47
    bemused says:

    Sooner, that’s tragic. I’m near tears myself. I’m assuming he knows about all the shitty stuff you have been going through yet he still chooses to cut off contact. That’s gotta really hurt. He has forgotten what being a “brother” means.

    I don’t get why so many Republicans’ entire identities are clothed in a political party. It’s as if they got sucked into a cult and anyone else not in the cult must be shunned. At the very least, imo, they have irrational emotional issues.

  48. 48
    bg says:

    sorry you are going through this. I lost a conservative former close friend too. We used to buy each other gag gifts. She gave me a glass elephant, I gave her a birthday cake with a picture of W on it, she gave me a Rush Limbaugh mug, I gave her Al & Tipper Gore’s book. I think what killed the friendship was her persistent support of these anti-gay whack jobs in spite of what they were doing to a mutual close friend who is gay. The three of us worked together. I left. I couldn’t listen to her shit any more. After a while, I stopped missing her.
    But we never saved each other’s lives. I can’t imagine your pain.

  49. 49
    SenyorDave says:

    I have freinds who are smart people who HATE Obama. And I’ve decided that the black thing plays into it pretty strongly. After 30 years of the GOP convincing everyone that they’re getting screwed because they are white, and it is just such an advantage to be a black male these days, a lot of whites (especially white males), buy into it hook, line and sinker.

    No statistics can change these people, no logic.

    I think Chris Rock was the one who said it really is a huge advantage to be a black male, because when he goes into stores he has a personal shopper whose only job appears to be to follow him around the entire time he’s in the store.

  50. 50
    Abijah L. says:

    Yes, wait until after the inauguration and contact him again. My 83 year old father is not speaking to his 80 year old sister because she called the president “Hussein”. When you think about what they believe about us, though, you can understand why they hate us. You just can’t understand why they believe that toxic crap. I had a patient sobbing in my office one day because he was a single father and needed a surgery. He felt he had no where to leave his young children because his pastor had convinced him that his non-religious family “hated” him for his fundie Christianity so he didn’t want his kids around their grandparents. His pastor made me think of an abusive spouse.

  51. 51
    Cromagnon says:

    Maybe calling the guy a racist because he’s not voting the way you want him to pissed him off.

  52. 52
    Concerned says:

    Yeah, they always hate it when you pull the race card.

  53. 53
    the Conster says:

    Sorry that this happened Sooner, but Republicans suck. All of them. There’s something deeply wrong with them.

  54. 54
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    This thread is bringing up two different “prayer group/prayer circle” ads. Gotta love those Google algorithms.

  55. 55
    hep kitty says:

    Well that sux, the load. I’m really sorry, but who knows, after Obama is re-elected, maybe he will figure out that the President does not want to murder and eat white babies, take all your friend’s guns and enslave all whites, in his 2nd term b/c the first term was just part of the larger plan to dupe white ppl into voting him back in, your friend will come around. I’m srs, stranger things have happened. I hope it does for you and you know what? I think it will, over time.

    Oh and why he can’t articulate it? Because he’s been brainwashed by Fox and Rush.

    Simplistic explanation? I used to think so, but not anymore – seen and heard too much over the last 4, hell, 10 years.

  56. 56
    Bobby Thomson says:

    That just really sucks.

    And, oh yeah, Facebook is definitely a net detractor from social capital.

    With any luck, tempers will cool over time.

  57. 57
    LGRooney says:

    @Betty Cracker: That is what I’m thinking. I’m not on Facebook so forgive me if I trivialize the feeling of being unfriended. Could be that he is hot under the collar now and needs a cool down. Could be that he truly does harbor the feelings you dread (I get the scary feeling that the dog whistles work so well because there is that strong a feeling still in a wide swathe of America). Could be that he is embarrassed to have people link to you through him to see who his friends are and there is pressure from the other side, i.e., could be he still wants to be friends but simply can’t show it publicly because of his ‘public.’

  58. 58
    DFH n0.6 says:

    Been reading as you’ve posted about your illness lately, and I hope you and your fam are finally all better – not being in good health is one of the suckiest things there is (and having relationships with loved ones become difficult ranks right up there, too).

    Living and working in the engineering/construction industry here in Sheriff Joe Arpaio County, I have been mostly surrounded by wingnuts for decades.

    My boss is a solid teabagger, as are almost all the people I work with every day. We work well together, but I am constantly barraged by torrents of wingnut bullshit. I stay friendly (because, you know, paycheck and all) but it often gets pretty damn depressing (the W years were particularly hard).

    My remaining baby brother (other baby brother died a few years ago in an accident) who lives near me is a coming-of-age-during-Reagan Republican. Since getting his degree (at a state college, with very low tuition back in the ‘80s) he has always worked for the government (currently for the city of Phoenix).

    And, while in college (with 2 young daughters – he married young, initially dropped out, then took the long way to graduation as a working-poor adult) he and his family were on AZ’s version of Medicaid (AHCCS).

    His primary reason for being a wingnut? So many lazy and shiftless ghetto and barrio dwellers making poor life decisions (like having kids they can’t afford) and getting government largesse. So very typical.

    And, as he literally said at a family gathering while attacking Obama’s stimulus, “Government doesn’t create jobs”. Wingnut cognitive dissonance is truly amazing; awesome, even, in its way.

    I still love him dearly, and always will, no matter how divided by worldview we are (and we’re pretty fucking divided). But it gets harder and harder to stay in an actual relationship with him.

    You are not alone, I guess is what many of us are saying. Hope that gives you some comfort.

  59. 59
    Randy P says:

    @balconesfault: Having had some siblings sucked in by a cult, I’ve been very aware of that. And I watched the mental process of escaping from the cult, and how some people never completely escape the mentality even after they escape the particular cult.

    It damaged my relationship with those sibs. I’m talking to all of them now but still many years later don’t have a 100% normal relationship. And I NEVER bring up the subject of religion.

  60. 60
    Raven says:

    @JPL: It wasn’t just the war. It was race, class, gender. . .same as it ever was.

  61. 61
    hep kitty says:

    @SenyorDave: Good lord, I wish these ppl would have to be black for just one week and then see how they feel.

  62. 62
    Raven says:

    @LGRooney: I have a zero tolerance policy on FB. My brother decided to chime in with some of his Arizona wingnut shit and I told him flat out. “I will not engage in political discussions with you. I want to hear about your work, kids and sports”. Anyone other than family starts that shit and they are gone.

  63. 63
    Seth Owen says:

    This is the sort of small but important incidents I see adding up that really, really worry me. I’ve had some unfriends over politics and there are relatives we can’t discuss politics with and other ugliness. I know that some say there has always been nasty politics but in my 57 years I haven’t seen it this bad since the 60s. And at least in the 60s it was ABOUT shit, war and civil rights. For the life of me I can’t figure out what this right-wing cult growing before our eyes really WANTS. It frightens me. Because they have no coherent wants you can’t ever satisfy them.

  64. 64
    gttim says:

    It happens. I lost a 20 year AA sponsor in 2008 over Obama, along with another friend. My older sister and I no longer speak because of her strident religious/Republican views- but I never really liked her anyways, truth be told. I avoid some training partners now. It is sad, but the rightwing’s smears they have been putting out for decades are having an effect on our country.

    If I were you, I would just hang lose. I suspect he will contact you one day.

  65. 65
    Cassidy says:

    SG, I’m sorry to piss in the punch bowl, but I’ve had to deal with this a couple of times. The reality is we’re Soldiers. Even if we’re not in anymore, at our core, we’re Soldiers. And we have a set of values that we lived and breathed every day. We woke up to it. We enforced it. We were the example to our troops.

    Republican values are not consistent with Army values. You need to step back and question is this person the man of “honor, integrity, or moral compass” you really thought him to be. Can a man of honor and integrity and moral compass support the kinds of things that Republicans do and say? No. You know this is true.

    I’m not suggesting that you cut ties with this guy, by any stretch. I’m still friends with a couple of huys I’ve had furious arguments with. We stopped talking about politics to each other and we’re not as close as we were. But, you really need to re-evaluate this guy and remove him from the filter of isolation.

  66. 66
    Soprano2 says:

    I’m so sorry, it sounds like you’ve had a bad month. I’ll trade you months, though – two weeks ago we buried my 46-year-old sister, who was killed along with her boyfriend and his three children in a small plane crash just north of Springfield, MO. You probably heard about it, the crash happened on September 15th. Then, the day before the memorial, my car was struck by a hit and run driver, and now it’s totalled and I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do for transportation. I think I’m going to drive her car, I have no idea how I’m going to feel about that.

  67. 67
    gnomedad says:

    @debbie:

    I’ve threatened to unfriend one of my brothers if he doesn’t shut up. (“If I don’t use the N-word, then I’m not a rascist.”)

    I unfriended my only sibling after he wouldn’t stop personal messaging me with political bullshit. Similar memes. On the other hand, he hardly uses FB for anything else, so no great loss. Mostly I get along with the rest of my relatives and just wait for the occasional BS wave to pass. Sounds like it’s much worse for you. So sorry.

    Sorry for you, too, SG.

  68. 68
    Raven says:

    @DFH n0.6: My half-brother is in Mesa, same story and his bitch of a wife is worse.

  69. 69
    hep kitty says:

    Heard an ex-teabagger on the radio other day. Came right out and said it was a cult

  70. 70
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Cromagnon:

    Every conservative I have ever known or heard about in 6 decades of life was a racist.

    Every. Last. Fucking. One.

    It’s part of the package (like IGMFY).

    As the Conster said at comment 52, they all suck. There is something deeply wrong with them.

    Do conservatives become racist and selfish because of their conservative bent, or do racism and selfishness lead them to become politically and culturally conservative?

    Maybe a chicken and egg thing, but I lean towards the latter.

    And I’m guessing Sooner knows his erstwhile friend well enough to realize racism was definitely in play.

  71. 71
    WereBear says:

    I am very careful NOT to discuss politics with certain members of my family. Because it’s pointless. They hate the President because they believe things about him that are not true. How can I fight that, when their sources are their reality?

    @balconesfault: And a key to any cult maintaining its strength is for members to cut personal ties from those who challenge their beliefs in the cult. The closer the personal tie … the more critical it is that the strings be cut.

    Precisely. When your whole schtick depends on the victim Not Thinking, the more you use emotions the less chance of them throwing off the pernicious influence.

    This is:

    The Benjamin Franklin Effect

    The Misconception: You do nice things for the people you like and bad things to the people you hate.

    The Truth: You grow to like people for whom you do nice things and hate people you harm.

    If you make someone give up an emotional tie they love very much; they will rationalize it and push it away all the more.

  72. 72
    jayboat says:

    Glass half full, bro…

    Sounds to me like it GOTS TO GET BETTAH for you after that rough patch.

    Sorry about your buddy. Do what you can to reach out, but you can only do so much. It’s sad to see the divisiveness that our toxic political system is causing at so many levels.

  73. 73
    Jay in Oregon says:

    This whole mess is dividing all of us and that’s so what they want.

    Exactly. As long as they have us fighting with each other over God, gays, and guns, we won’t notice that they’re fucking ALL of us over.

    Soonergrunt, I’m sorry. And I hope beyond everything that it was a heat of the moment thing, unfriending you; give it some time, let the election pass, and maybe you can talk to each other again.

    If I didn’t have to live in the same country as them, I’d be willing to let the Republicans and conservatives have the government they want so badly, and have it good and hard. Maybe when the Kenyan Tyrant has ruthlessly seized power one more time yet America manages to survive, he’ll see some sense.

  74. 74
    J R in WVa says:

    Sooner,

    So sorry to hear about it. Somehow people are being made crazy by other folks they have come to respect out of all proportion to their honor.

    Things will turn around for you, have no doubt. You are the person with honor on your side.

    JR

  75. 75
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Soprano2:

    Oh no. What a dreadful loss. Hugs to you too.

  76. 76
    Trakker says:

    That’s terrible, and I hope it’s just temporary (until after election?).

    But I’m not surprised. It just feels like we’re fighting a new civil war in America. Brother against brother. I have almost no contact with my family back in Indiana anymore, not because they are conservative and I’m not. It’s because they are religious nuts who embrace a fear and dismissal of everything that is not “blessed” by their leader: God via Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin (still), etc.

    Good luck with your best friend. Maybe after the elections the passions will cool.

  77. 77
    JustMe says:

    I live in DC and once I move away, I pretty much only expect to keep in touch with one friend from here, and that guy is voting for Romney. He’s managed not to drink the kool-aid too badly: being a Republican for him is about money and his professional connections in this city (weirdly, I know more Republicans socially in DC than I ever have had before, and they’re so much more pleasant than the wingnuts I grew up with and know in my family). It would deeply upset me if this guy turned into one of those right-wing serial harassers of the sort who can’t stop repeating talking points.

    Sorry, man. This kind of stuff is sundering families apart every day, as well.

  78. 78
    dlwchico says:

    My fiance’s sister died several years ago and left behind a young son and husband. The husband remarried within months and he’s a right wing blowhard. Everybody in her family has to walk on tiptoes around him and ignore his racist bullshit because they are afraid that if they say anything, they’ll never see their grandson/nephew again. I’m sure he knows he has them over a barrel too, from the way he acts and things he says.

  79. 79
    John PM says:

    This election is really bringing out some weird things in people. We found out that a friend of ours is a Republican, which is strange because he is a car salesman and his wife is a teacher. Then we learned that his dad has a lot of money, so it makes a bit more sense. My wife had to hide hom on Facebook because she was getting tired of his Republican rants. His daughters go to school with my sons (and my oldest is in love with his daughter), so we do not talk politics.

    Soonergrunt, I am sorry about your friend. In a way this is worse than if he had died because at least then you could start the healing process. Hopefully he will come around after the election.

  80. 80
    MikeJ says:

    @Cromagnon:

    Maybe calling the guy a racist because he’s not voting the way you want him to pissed him off.

    Republicans like to say that Obama is a communist, but that’s empirically testable and it’s not true. republicans like to say Obama will take away your guns. Empirically testable, not true. That like to say he coddles terrorists, that he hates small business, that he’ll raise taxes on the middle class. All empirically testable, all not true.

    Every single reason why Republicans say they don’t like Obama is a lie. We’re kinda left with one thing that it might be.

  81. 81
    gogol's wife says:

    I’m very sorry. You are on the side of the angels, as someone above said. Maybe he will realize that and come around. Witnessing to the truth is never a mistake.

  82. 82
    JPL says:

    @Soprano2: Hugs to you and I’m so sorry to hear about your sister.

  83. 83
  84. 84
    eemom says:

    @the Conster:

    Sorry that this happened Sooner, but Republicans suck. All of them. There’s something deeply wrong with them.

    I’m with you.

    I drive around my neighborhood here, and I see the Romtron yard signs and stickers, and I really do feel like I’m in some kind of horror movie where ordinary people turn out to be devil worshippers.

    At best these people are deeply deluded. That’s the absolute BEST you can hope for.

  85. 85
    HinTN says:

    @Jeff(the other one): Exactly right!!!

  86. 86
    RareSanity says:

    Damn Soonergrunt, that’s tough man…

    I think I agree with others that by challenging your friend on his beliefs, you caused him to realize something, that he had rationalized to himself, not to be true.

    Only someone that is very close to you can cause that type of thing to happen. It’s easy to dismiss it coming from some random person, but when it’s someone close, it becomes harder and harder to find a rationalization for an ugly belief.

    He’s lashing out at you for not allowing him to continue to lie to himself. Hopefully, what will happen is that he accepts it was not your fault that he held certain views. Even if it doesn’t cause him to revisit the belief, at least he will not blame you for causing him to think about it.

    Good luck, man. If he holds the friendship in the same regard that you do, he’s not going to be able to walk away from it, over something like this.

    @SenyorDave:

    As a black man, I can tell you that what you mentioned from Chris Rock, is not the most pointed thing he’s said on the subject. My favorite line of his, is when he points out to the audience and says,

    “…there ain’t a white man in the room that would change places with me…AND I’M RICH! That’s how good it is to be white. There’s a white, one-legged busboy in here right now … that won’t change places with (me). He’s going, ‘No, man, I don’t wanna switch. I wanna ride this white thing out.'”

  87. 87
    Mandarama says:

    @Lee: @Lee:
    What Lee said x1000. In the end, the years and the love and the shared experiences will mean more. Give it time.

    And my heart goes out to you, for all these troubles. Hang on tight, dear person.

  88. 88
    Raven says:

    @RareSanity: Maybe he unfriended him instead of lashing out?

  89. 89
    Virginia Highlander says:

    Really, really, really sorry, dude.

    My only sibling unfriended me. Today’s her birthday and this is the first time in many years I won’t be calling.

    I haven’t talked to my ancient, racist, Foxbot parents since Mother’s Day, when my mother and I had a big blowup that began with her nasty politics and how it relates to my Hispanic school-teacher wife.

    The crazy-stupid-evil is tearing friends, family and I fear perhaps our country apart. It sucks.

  90. 90
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Matt McIrvin:
    Bingo!

  91. 91
    eemom says:

    @JustMe:

    being a Republican for him is about money and his professional connections in this city

    imo, perpetuating evil for personal gain is worse than having honestly drunk the kool aid — though I can see how it might be more “pleasant” to be around.

  92. 92
    hep kitty says:

    @Trakker:

    That’s terrible, and I hope it’s just temporary (until after election?).

    Zackly – and as the republicans continue to become marginalized they will have to drop the ‘tude, stop whining, suck it up and deal.

  93. 93
  94. 94
    Spike says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    And, oh yeah, Facebook is definitely a net detractor from social capital.

    This, a thousand times this. I climbed out of that cesspool back in March and have never looked back.

  95. 95
    RareSanity says:

    @Raven:

    It’s just a passive-agressive version of it.

  96. 96
    MazeDancer says:

    It is completely wretched and unfair you have been afflicted by so much.

    Illness and accidents are horrid but can be endured until they’re over. Having your heart ripped out by a brother is not so bearable.

    You will talk to him again. You will not let evil Facebook and some angry stupidity by your friend be your last communication. When passions cool, neither will he. Maybe he is angry you asked if he is a racist. Repub racists are quick to flash how dare you. Even though they are total racists they do not want to admit it. And if you hadn’t touched a nerve, he would have answered, of course not. Or even more truthfully, i sometimes wonder if that is true, but that is not the real issue for me.

    A man of honor will not use click of technology to end a friendship. Anger happens between those we love. It is what we do after the clash where love has to work hardest. You and your friend will talk. You will reach out one day. May that bring healing.

    May good things start to roll into your life now in abundance.

  97. 97
    LarryB says:

    Sooner,

    Ow, that hurts. I’m very sorry for you. At least you got an incident you can point back to and say, “that was the blow-off”. A couple my wife and I raised our kids with – hell, we were talking about retiring together – just walked the f**k away with no reason given then or later either to us or to mutual friends. We were left just scratching our heads and wondering if it was something we said?

  98. 98
    walt says:

    I lost a Republican friend during the last election cycle. He was crowing about GOP gains and this slipped from my viper tongue: “great. 60 new bigots in the House”.

    We didn’t start this civil war. Rather, the Roves, Atwaters, Buchanans, et al, did. And what they did to this country was divide us neatly into mods and squares, hippies and straights, Real Americans and everyone else. It’s probably a miracle we’re not shooting each other (but if we were, we know who has most of the firepower).

    For the most part, Republicans are just the same as we are. But they relish their tribal solidarity as an abstraction, a substitute for actual engagement. It’s a stupid war, one that is already lost, but it’s seductive for that reason. Complexity is a bummer because it paralyzes action. What better way to counter that than pretend half your fellow Americans are evil pawns in some vast conspiracy. This toxic idea is political gold. Republicans mine it because they have nothing real to sell.

  99. 99
  100. 100
    LGRooney says:

    @eemom: Exactly what I was thinking. These are the ones at the apex of the GOP and they they don’t drink the kool aid, they just serve it. Pushing others to believe in shit you know is untrue for personal gain is a much lower position morally than an ignorant hay hen who has neither the time nor the ability to dig deeper into the issues that matter.

  101. 101
    bemused says:

    @Seth Owen:

    I’d say they have no coherent wants that can be satisfied because they have bought into all the rightwing fantasies…trickle down, moochers and makers and all the rest of the bs that has been deliberately aimed at susceptible, fearful folks. Karl Rove cynically said ‘we create our own reality’.

  102. 102
    UncommonSense says:

    You probably shouldn’t have implied he was a racist.

  103. 103
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @aimai: #39

    Snail mail is a good idea. You can’t make a physical letter disappear with just a click.

    And damn, Sooner. The whole situation is just so sad.

  104. 104
    Mandarama says:

    @RareSanity:
    That Chris Rock bit is one of his best–a home run example of the clarity and social awareness satire was created to whack us humans with.

  105. 105
    Cassidy says:

    @UncommonSense: Why? If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s not a fucking cow. If you can’t be honest with your friends then you have the wrong kind of friends.

  106. 106
    Cermet says:

    While it NEVER pays to share all what you really believe, the fact that this guy couldn’t deal with it (by expressing what made him so angry) proves that he is EITHER 1) unable to handle this because he does not know how to approch it with you OR is a shallow prick unable to handle something so minor. In the former case, you might have struck way too close so he thought it was an attack on his values. So, better to ask him what got him angry – if it turns out to be the later case, then he isn’t worth the trouble. Your call to ask or not. Think it over before acting in haste.

  107. 107
    RareSanity says:

    @Mandarama:

    The only other comedian I can even fairly compare him to is George Carlin.

    He’s that good.

  108. 108
    Johannes says:

    Sooner, like everyone else on the thread, I feel for you, and hope you and Jon reconcile. This election. Is messing with us; I spent some time with my parents and sister this weekend, and tensions were there that never have been there before.

    You’re a good man; hopefully Jon is having a temporary snit, and will get over it.

  109. 109
    MomSense says:

    @Soonergrunt

    I am so sorry for all the shitty things you and your wife are going through right now. I lost two childhood friends for similar reasons and it just sucks.

    Please just try to focus on getting well and know that you have a lot of people here who appreciate you.

  110. 110
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    So sorry to hear about this Sooner. This is the result of years of Republicans depicting anyone who votes Democratic as a traitor or enemy to the nation. Divide and conquer as a political strategy only ends up destroying everyone. I may disagree with wingers but I don’t consider them to be traitors and enemies of the state.

    I wish they thought likewise.

  111. 111
    Cmm says:

    @hep kitty:

    I am filled with hope that there is even such a thing as an ex-tea bragger. This is the first I have heard of it.

  112. 112
    Elizabelle says:

    Sooner: I don’t know that the loss of your friend is irrevocable.

    OTOH, some distance before the election could be good (and is the state of affairs now, anyway.)

    On the other: too long a distance can grow into a chasm and harden positions.

    Maybe let it go a while — only a few days — and drop him a handwritten note? Even to the effect of, “we’re going to have to agree to disagree politically, but this is not worth losing a friendship over. I value you too much.”

    I’m thinking what’s happening to you is happening all over the country, in lesser degree.

    So sorry you’ve had such rough travels lately.

    FWIW, I think your friend’s candidate is going to lose. But is going to drag us through a lot more shit before he does.

  113. 113
    JustMe says:

    @eemom: imo, perpetuating evil for personal gain is worse than having honestly drunk the kool aid—though I can see how it might be more “pleasant” to be around.

    I agree in principle, but the truth is that Republicans outside the beltway are genuinely nasty people to be around. Being Republican is their job just like working at Wal-Mart is someone’s job. Inside the Beltway, they’re actually fairly pleasant and not anything like the angry ranters you have to put up with on facebook, during family holidays, or elsewhere.

  114. 114
    Elizabelle says:

    @Soprano2:

    So very sorry to hear this. No words.

    But your sister would be happy you are living, and getting around. Perhaps that car will be a sense of loss and, later, a sense of presence.

  115. 115
    El Tiburon says:

    Many of us had a similar conversation here a couple of weeks ago.

    A friend who I considered like a brother defriended me on FB as well. In addition his wife posted ugly things about me on FB. Another thing my friend did was to scour all of my Facebook posts that dealt with politics and cut and paste them into an email he sent out to our friends.

    Yeah, he is a Ronald Reagan fox news Republican and it was all over politics.

    Truth is this: these people HATE us as people. They detest our very existence. On the other hand, for the most part, we hate their politics.

    It is getting very ugly and will only get uglier.

  116. 116
    Cmm says:

    In the end this is Still the 60s mentality of us vs them. The same people who came of age as young political operatives and participants during that time are still running the show now. Many of the boomers have shifted rightward, and the remaining members of the Silent generation are in the same place. People like Rove are skillfully pushing the same buttons that have worked for them for nearly 50 years. I am afraid it will only get worse for a while as the very group whose numbers threaten to strain Medicare and Social Security to the breaking point fight tooth and nail for those benefits without caring what is left for those who come after. But eventually they will die off. I’m just sorry that I am close enough to them in age that I will hit my own seniority in whatever smoking wreckage they leave behind, if we can’t make some changes and soon. And then depend on the next generation to be as foresighted as the ones who put together Medicare in 1964 were.

  117. 117
    hep kitty says:

    If you’re going to have a conversation with a ‘bagger, or RW’r, ask them how the would propose to fix health care, for instance. If they start talking vouchers, ask them what it means. Just for example. It might make them think, at least. You can be oh so nice about it, treat them as if they’re smart and you reeeally wanna know.

  118. 118
    mcmullje says:

    My heart goes out to you. It’s so hard to understand this phenomenon. It’s going on all across the country. I adore my son, but refuse to talk politics with him for fear of the rift it may cause. I can’t put an Obama sticker on my car because I’m afraid of how he will react. I can only hope that at some point sanity will return.

  119. 119
    dan says:

    Think about it this way. This may be a totally FB related event. He may have “unfriended” (in quotes, on purpose) you so he does not have to see any of your political posts, stuff about Obama, etc.

    I “unfriended” my cousin so I don’t have to see his NON STOP posting of Fox and Rush L. crap. I know if I see it, I will want to kill him. Now that I can’t, I can see him at holidays and it is all about family. I don’t have to think about the last 5-10 horribly outrageous bullshit things he posted on his wall.

  120. 120
    1badbaba3 says:

    @UncommonSense: They imply that and worse about us. We don’t have to take that shit anymore. Enough is enough. Our position is as strong as it has ever been (just as their power is waning), if we don’t defend it now we’ll have lost an opportunity we may not have again. So fuck them and the 19th century horse they rode in on.

  121. 121
    Hubris says:

    If your friend has honor and integrity and spades, perhaps it follows that you should start with the assumption that he’s not a racist and there are other reasons in the world he would vote differently from you. Just saying.

  122. 122
    Violet says:

    I am so sorry. I too hope that it’s just a blip and he’ll realize he’s made a mistake. Sending you healing thoughts.

  123. 123
    The Moar You Know says:

    Civil War, Part II.

    I’m not being funny. I seriously think this is what’s coming.

  124. 124
    Emma says:

    @bemused: I don’t get why so many Republicans’ entire identities are clothed in a political party. It’s as if they got sucked into a cult and anyone else not in the cult must be shunned. THIS. It makes me insane to see people behave like this.

    I am so sorry for your horrible, crappy, no-good month, Sooner. There are times like this. Once, may years ago, a wonderful man said to me there are things you can’t go around, only go through. But they’re not the fun parts of life. I pray your friend gets over whatever anger and resentment he feels.

  125. 125
    karen marie says:

    @Chinn Romney: Yeah, I’m not sure why anyone who hunts would support Romney:

    I don’t want to say, “Oh, I’m about to hand it over.” But where government ownership of land is designed to satisfy, let’s say, the most extreme environmentalists, from keeping a population from developing their coal, their gold, their other resources for the benefit of the state, I would find that to be unacceptable.

    P.S.: Sooner, I hate to say it but I think you really crossed a line with your old friend by pretty much telling him that without an explicit declaration and proof otherwise, you were assuming he’s a racist. I would apologize to him for that. Even if it’s true, nothing is to be gained by putting someone on the spot like that. A discussion about Romney and Obama on their merits could perhaps alleviate whatever racial animus may have arisen because of hisyour friend’s concern about the future.

  126. 126
    Bulworth says:

    So sorry to hear this, Sooner. I’ve had some bad FB experiences but nothing remotely like the one involving the depth of friendship you have developed. I hope you can reconcile eventually and that your and your wife’s health will improve speedily.

    I’ve been wondering what to do with FB for a while now. It was fun at first, “seeing” lots of people you knew from back in the day. But most of them were people I basically knew to see but didn’t know them much at all. And now these people were suddenly arguing with me over posts and my timeline was filling up with crap and it just got to be too much. But I valued FB for the half dozen or so real people I cared about, so I didn’t and haven’t quit it. But I have started the laborious and sensitive process of “narrowing down” my list of friends. Not sure how this will work out. Might still quit FB eventually anyway, but for now, I’m trying to create a new, friendlier, if smaller and more intimate space for myself online.

  127. 127
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Sarge, that sucks.

    I think your friend (and it’s obvious that you still consider him such, even if, according to facebook, he doesn’t consider you one) will realize that you two have been through too much together, under the most horrific of conditions, to allow a personal relationship to be set aside over politics.

    I had many friends in the Army who were still friends even though we argued a great deal about politics. One buddy of mine claimed that his politics were “just to the right of Attila the Hun” yet we were great friends who could talk about any number of things, even politics.

    In ROTC, I was the communist. Five minutes later and two blocks away, in the dorm, I was the fascist stormtrooper (for being in ROTC). These things shouldn’t get in the way of real friendship…but sometimes they do, as you’ve seen.

    I hope your friend lets his passions cool and comes back to you. There was a time when either of you would have gladly laid his life down for the other. I hope that time comes again for both of you.

  128. 128
    karen marie says:

    @Emma: It’s unfair to assert that shunning is strictly the purview of Republicans. As a Democrat — liberal, progressive, whatever you want to call me — I engage in shunning regularly. I simply will not tolerate stupid.

  129. 129
    CynDee says:

    Soonergunt,

    You did the best thing possible for your friend and yourself. You told the truth. You laid a pathway by which your friend can return from the insanity of hate. When he has heard and promoted enough lies and is still very unhappy, what you said may come into his mind. If you hadn’t told the truth, that could never happen.

    Even if he never gets it, there is no substitute for the truth, is there? If you can tell the unwelcome truth to a friend when you are in the midst of misfortune, illness, suffering, and fear, you are your best self — and always will be. You have done your part to help him and those who are exposed to him.

    12 years ago I had to give up a friendship. I had a warm, caring, and funny chum of many years who did numerous wonderful, thoughtful, helpful things for me when I was low. But there were some dark attitudes in her. Unfortunately she began launching into hot political and societal rants in the course of an ordinary conversation. I just let her carry on, not having any answers or information to convince her of other viewpoints. But I began not looking forward to spending time with her. She became very judgmental about minor matters that, as far as I could see, were other people’s business, but she would tear up the air about it.

    One day I had invited her over for coffee and to show her a pretty room I had newly painted. I thought that it might divert her and cheer her up. There was nothing weird about the new wall color — it was just a nice fresh conventional hue. She started getting very agitated and went into an ugly rant about how unsuitable it was and how unhappy it would make me. When she found that I had plans to use the same color in another room, she went ballistic. She backed me into a corner and was bent over me yelling in my face. I really thought that she was going to hit me. So I quickly said, “Let’s go outside.” I nudged past her and opened the door. I I suggested we go to her house, and there I helped her with some things in the yard I knew that she was concerned about completing.

    I often thought that if I had been a better friend, I would have said, “Come and look at yourself in the mirror. Your face is all screwed up in an ugly rage. This isn’t about me and my paint color — it’s about you and some massive resent
    ment I don’t even know about!”

    But I didn’t do that. I was too tired, and I really did think she might take a swing at me. After this kind of a day, I was stunned that she could behave like this. I just didn’t call her anymore. I grew up with a massively angry dad, and had avoided a number of men and women with rage problems. I had a lot going on at the time of this incident, and I didn’t have the energy or desire to wear down myself and my already-low health trying to relate to someone like this.

    She was mystified by why I didn’t want to seem to get together anymore, but I had to pay attention to those in my life who have some civility in their behavior.

    I’ve seen her a few times recently, and if she starts into a rant, i am ready to say, “What are you going to do about this in the next half-day? If you’re not going to actually do something, yourself — not just voting for somebody else to take care of it –if you are just on a rant, you’re wearing yourself out and turning yourself into a hater, and pushing people away. Go look at yourself in the mirror. Is this how you really want to be?”

    I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to recognize hate and resentment. I was unprepared for it. Just this week, this thread is the third instance of my hearing from people who have Facebook accounts and who are shocked to see the growing hate-fest creepshow that is out there. They say their religious friends are the biggest haters. Their Facebook pages are about Jesus and flag and thoughts of harming people they don’t even know.

  130. 130
    ellie says:

    I’m sorry for all that has happened to you. I am especially sorry about your friend. I always put more into friendships than my friends do. I am very loyal. After years of being screwed over and treated poorly (not over politics either) I only have the most superficial of friendships now. I wouldn’t choose it but what can you do when people don’t value you? You stop being close to them.

  131. 131
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Unfortunately, it seems that way.

    All I can say to those who wish for it is what Sherman said before Ft. Sumter…that it is folly and will bring regrets if it comes to that.

    This time it won’t be as readily defined by geography, though.

  132. 132
    bodacious says:

    Wait, wait, wait!!!
    I actually ‘unfriended’ everyone except my two kids last week. Got tired of checking up on other peoples lives, and wanted to focus more on living mine. Siblings, best friends, less than friends, all of it. Nothing personal, just FB burn-out. I didn’t tell anyone, because I didn’t want to make any deal about it. Hopefully, instead of feeling wounded, they’ll check my profile and see I have two (2) friends only.
    Any chance that coincidence happened here as well?

  133. 133
    geg6 says:

    So sorry, Sooner. It really has been a sucky time for you lately.

    My story is the opposite of yours. I lost a very good long time friend this year when I unfriended her on FB. I’ve know this woman since I was 22 and we’ve been through a lot together, especially because she’s had a tough life. She got pregnant at 17 and had two kids by the time I met her (I was 22 and she was 20). Her first husband, the kids’ father, was abusive toward her and the kids. When they finally divorced a few years later, he paid her almost nothing in child support and she worked her ass off with several jobs to make ends meet and give her kids a home. She was elated when SCHIP became available to her kids. She got food stamps and Section 8 housing. She did everything she could because her ex never paid. Hell, he still owes her child support and the kids are in their late 20s and early 30s. Her next long-term relationship was also abusive. She remarried a few years after that ended and was divorced a few years after that because she refused to quit working. Her kids finally grew up and she has been single for quite a while now. Life has changed and we don’t see each other like we used to, but had always kept in touch. We never discussed politics before and she is one of the kindest and sweet people you’d ever meet. But she found my FB page a year or so and I became FB friends with her. But soon, she was messaging me about how she thinks she didn’t really know me all this time because I’m an atheist and support Obama. That the person she thought I was could never be the person she found on my FB page. I tried to discuss my beliefs, political and religious, with her so she could just understand where I stood and why and to tell her that I was always those things, even when I was holding her hand and helping her escape from her abusive ex-boyfriend. Or standing in front of her when her ex-husband came looking for her, drunk and pissed because he’s been thrown in jail for non-payment of support. But then I went onto her FB page (which I’d never done before) and it was full of racist images and “jokes” about Obama. I just couldn’t take it any more and I unfriended her. I was just so furious with her! She said I wasn’t the person she thought, but it was me, really, that was totally fooled by her. I don’t care if I never see her again, that’s how offended I was.

    This doesn’t help you at all, Sooner. But it’s always good to get it off my chest. That episode really upset me at the time, and it still hurts a bit. But the fact is that I found out that you have to, sometimes, just give up on some people we call friends. I know it’s harder for you, what with that intimate relationship men have with those with whom they’ve served. But that is the way of the world sometimes. He may or may not get over this. But you need to move on, whatever he decides. Your friendship will never be what it was. You may get back in touch, but the relationship has irrevocably changed. Be sad, stay in touch with him if you need to, but move on.

  134. 134
    Maude says:

    I had a friend who married a guy that abused her before she married him. I couldn’t go to her wedding and I’ve never had contact with her again. I couldn’t watch her go through that again. I will always miss her.

  135. 135
    gelfling545 says:

    Take heart. He will be back. You have forced him to look at something potentially ugly in himself (and we all have these little pockets of ugliness hiding somewhere inside about one thing or another)that he had successfully avoided looking at straight on before. He will need time to realize that you were not attacking him. In the long run he may even see that you were helping him see things more clearly.

    I’ve seen this happen rather a lot lately among people I know. I think these last few years have been drawing us to a point at which people are being forced to examine where they stand on a number of issues. This is not an easy thing but it is, I think, in the long term a good thing.

  136. 136
    shortstop says:

    I’m hearing these stories all over. Like others in this thread, got one of my own. It doesn’t make it hurt any less when it happens to you, but it does help a bit to know there’s a lot of this going on.

    They aren’t kidding when they say we haven’t been this polarized since the “sectional crisis.”

  137. 137
    Ash Can says:

    @Hubris:
    @karen marie:

    Except that Sooner tells us his friend is unable to express why he hates Obama. If there were legitimate policy issues involved, wouldn’t Sooner have said so, and told us what they were? And wouldn’t that have prevented him from probing for answers in the first place?

    Racism is much more, and far more insidious, than just bad-mouthing blacks and using the n-word. It involves seeing anyone as an “other” first and a regular, normal, fellow human second. It can accompany good intentions as well as bad. And it needs to be called out for what it is. If it hurts people’s feelings, too damned bad. Racism has hurt a hell of a lot more than just feelings throughout its long and sordid run in human history.

  138. 138
    Emma says:

    @karen marie: Your privilege. I don’t have a FB account because I have the patience and tolerance for BS roughly equivalent to the life span of a fruit fly. I would rather not engage it at all.

  139. 139
    sweaver says:

    That hurts. Really, I feel for you. Here’s hoping he has the ability to step outside of himself to think about it all, and come back soon and have a discussion about it for real with you.

  140. 140
    bemused says:

    @CynDee:

    I think the wisest thing was not to confront her and just get the both of you out of your house. She was truly out of control and it sounds like she really could have hurt you, taking her demons out on you.

    I’m betting a lot of people beside you are avoiding her.

  141. 141
    shortstop says:

    @gelfling545:

    Take heart. He will be back. You have forced him to look at something potentially ugly in himself (and we all have these little pockets of ugliness hiding somewhere inside about one thing or another)that he had successfully avoided looking at straight on before. He will need time to realize that you were not attacking him. In the long run he may even see that you were helping him see things more clearly.

    If Sooner’s friend is motivated by racism, he hasn’t been “forced” to look at anything. He’s walked away and he will stay away, with his resentment at/twisting of Sooner’s comments growing over time. (“Fucker called me a racist! He said I was dishonorable!”) Moments of painful self-revelation happen a hell of a lot more in the movies than in real life. In real life, we tend to dig in our heels to justify our wrongs. There are exceptions…but they are exceptions.

    I’m not trying to be harsh or pessimistic. If this friendship can be saved and that’s what Sooner wants, that would be great. But the outcome is much more likely to be the opposite and Sooner is dealing with that possibility.

  142. 142
    kindness says:

    Some of us as we age become more child like in our disposition rather than more wise as a result of our experiences.

    You Soonergrunt struck at the core of his being, his honor and his integrity. He can’t be honest with you (and probably with himself) about his preferred candidate but he really won’t question his own honor nor his integrity. For him leaving you by the side of the road was the easier call to make to keep his world view of himself clean.

    Sorry.

  143. 143
    sb says:

    I’ve got a wonderful wife and son but I had to end a close friendship a few years back and had to stay away from a group of friends because of one asshole just two weeks ago. Without getting into specifics, it was either I kick the shit out of this guy OR move on and the latter option was best rather than put up with it.

    SG, I don’t what to tell you other than you’re not alone. I’ve had friends but *never* as close as the one you described and I’ve had some pretty close friends. We want to trust the people around us and trust we can tell them anything and that they won’t hurt us or if they do hurt us, it can be repaired. It’s not always thus.

    I’m sorry for what you’re going through.

  144. 144
    Rand Careaga says:

    I don’t wish to trivialize what has obviously been a searing estrangement for soonergrunt, but a couple of years ago a woman with whom I’d been on cordial terms for almost forty years (nothing like a major friendship, but we’d had some laughs over the decades) completely severed relations between us after I spoke (posted, actually) disparagingly of…Maureen Dowd.

    Her last communique, delivered via the Book of Face, was to the effect that she hoped I’d die painfully of an immune disorder following a prison rape. There’s something about these low-bandwidth channels that seems to lend itself to such misunderstandings.

  145. 145
    Stentor says:

    I am so sorry to hear that my Marine brother.

    Saepius Exertus,
    Semper Fidelis,
    Frater Infinitas.

    AKA Huskerwinger

  146. 146
    tBone says:

    That sucks, Sooner. The RW Wurlitzer has been pumping poison into the atmosphere for 30 years, and things like this are the result.

    Don’t give up yet, though. During the W years, I couldn’t talk politics with anyone in my family. Several of them have done a Cole-style 180 since then, and are further along the DFH spectrum than me. Sometimes you just have to be patient and look for opportunities to nudge them along if you can.

    If that fails, go for mockery instead – the friends worth keeping will laugh it off and give it right back. I’ve promised several of my wingnut friends that they’ll be receiving mandatory gay abortions from illegal Muslim immigrants in a FEMA camp the instant that Obama’s second term starts.

  147. 147
    beergoggles says:

    Fuck, after years of being abrasive and rude to racists and homophobes I feel like I live in a fucking echo chamber. Doesn’t matter if they are parents, relatives or friends, if they can’t accept people for who they are I don’t need the fucking drama in my life.

    Looks to me like ur working on the same process of housecleaning the friend list. Yeah it hurts to lose friends but how does one live with one’s self after embracing bigots?

    It sucks this happened when the rest of that shit did man, but if a ‘friend’ can’t be there for you when this shit is happening, fuck em.

  148. 148
    karen marie says:

    @Ash Can: Yes, but my point is that directly telling someone they’re “probably racist” does nothing to move the conversation forward or get someone to think about anything — it puts them in an immediately defensive position. I’m not saying racism shouldn’t be called out, but in one-on-one situations it’s counterproductive unless your goal is to never speak to that person again.

  149. 149
    Riley's Enabler says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Sooner.

    A friend often says, “When you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything.” So perhaps a day of not doing anything is in order.

    I’m the lone hold out in a family of rabid Fox newshounds, deep in the heart of Texas. It’s lonely here; my co-workers and ex are all voting R and are pleased to parrot the daily Limbo talking points. I stay quiet, as there’s no use in speaking up. But I’ll vote my heart and hope there are enough other quiet ones like me out there to hold the line.

    I’m so sorry about your friend. I hope with time he comes to see the deeper value in your long friendship.

  150. 150
    slag says:

    So sorry for this, Soonergrunt! I can imagine how you must be feeling right now. For what it’s worth, I have a story of the near-death of a relationship over politics. The good news is that love won out in the end. It might work for you if your friend really cares about your relationship:

    My significant other used to be an anti-choice quasi-libertarian. It was the anti-choice aspect that simply wasn’t going to fly in the short term. So, we fought about it fought about it fought about it fought about it… In the end, I just wasn’t going to be with someone who put women in the second class compartment. I told him so, and we made a deal. We would have a formal debate on the topic. We would both go to the library and look up each other’s side of the argument. Then, we would come back together and try to rationally discuss the arguments that we found from our own points of view. I’d love to say here that rationality won out and that it was the science that pushed him over to my side. But the truth is, what really won him over to my side was mutual respect, love, and above all, empathy. In the end, he chose to get past himself and think about what he would want if he were a woman. Now he’s not only donating to Planned Parenthood on occasion, after many years of development, he’s evolved into a Kenyan-Terrorist-loving Socialist. It’s awesome!

    So, if you really value this relationship and if your friend does as well, then maybe you two can negotiate a deal to really work hard to try to see from each other’s perspective. You may not agree right away, but at the very least, you might gain even more in the way of mutual respect. And from mutual respect might come empathy. And from empathy might come yet another Kenyan-Terrorist-loving Socialist babykiller. We can only hope!

  151. 151
    karen marie says:

    @Emma: Well, that’s it — I do not engage stupid, I shun it. I have recently, to my great delight, discovered blocking on FB. I use FB as a news feed, and if I see a particularly stupid/obnoxious comment, I block the person. It’s fun, actually. It’s like having a magic wand and saying, “Be gone, you moron!” and – zap – I’ve made them disappear from the world.

  152. 152
    Jacquie says:

    Big, big hugs, Soonergrunt. I kinda get how you’re feeling right now, because my best friend of 10 years just moved away very suddenly, and there’s this acute sense of loss that remains, like a painful breakup.

    I hope your friend realizes that the friendship is worth preserving.

  153. 153
    Chris says:

    @JustMe:

    Inside the Beltway, they’re actually fairly pleasant and not anything like the angry ranters you have to put up with on facebook, during family holidays, or elsewhere.

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that. Wonder why that is. Maybe it’s just that the inside-the-beltway crowd is more likely to know that everything they’re peddling is junk, and there’s no need for them to get all worked up about it. Kind of like drug dealers not sniffing their own product.

  154. 154
    Chris says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Truth is this: these people HATE us as people. They detest our very existence. On the other hand, for the most part, we hate their politics.

    Yes. And that’s why it’s impossible to reach governing consensuses anymore, why it doesn’t matter that Obama passed a health care plan from their own think tank universe and a stimulus plan whose single biggest piece was tax cuts, and why it doesn’t matter that Romney walked back on almost all of his positions during the debate. They don’t give a fuck about policy and they never did. It’s us they hate.

  155. 155
    Elly says:

    FWIW, I’m sure the implied charge of racism struck a nerve, because most average white Americans do not believe they’re racist. They’re not haters, per se – and many of them may even have non-white friends and colleagues they like and interact with on a day-to-day basis.

    But that’s because the non-white people they interact with don’t represent a threat to white supremacy. It’s easy to be “tolerant” of “others” when they don’t threaten your worldview. That’s the secret of Herman Cain’s success; and that of the (few) other POC who’ve risen in the GOP. They don’t rock the boat.

    You’d think Obama wouldn’t seem threatening, either, but he was in Rev. Wright’s congregation for years, and Black Liberation Theology – even though it’s non-violent – truly does represent a challenge to the status quo. White Americans have been assiduous in their (our!) collective avoidance of facing the bitter truth: we’ve been telling ourselves lies about our history for years. When my kids were in elementary school, I was shocked to discover that the US “history” they were given was even more sanitized than what I “learned” 30 years earlier. Any facts that could make white people uncomfortable were either omitted (Indian wars) or presented as ancient history (slavery).

    Hating on Obama for invented reasons feels safer than dealing with all that deeply embedded baggage… especially when there are so many people willing to implicitly conspire with you. The fact that these reasons are demonstrably untrue doesn’t matter, since the collective participation in deception fulfills an irrational need.

    Fred Clark, the “Slactivist,” had a couple of insightful posts a while back on this need to believe preposterous lies:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/s.....witnesses/
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/s.....tnesses-2/

  156. 156
    Cassidy says:

    The reality is that if you vote Republican you are either a bigot or willing to enable bigotry for your own selfish desires. Either way, I have no need for those people in my life, personally. And I don’t feel bad saying that to them.

  157. 157
    RaflW says:

    @debbie:

    This election will be poisoning this country for decades.

    Sorry to jump to the end w/o reading a lot of what I’ll shortly go back and read. But this just jumped out at me.

    What I think we’re really seeing is the poison that has been injected into our nation for decades finally boiling to the surface. (Again).

    It’s happened before. From miners being killed in the Appalachians decades ago, to the Watts riots, and in so many other ways before, between and since, our country has festering wounds that erupt in violence and struggle.

    The GOP “southern strategy” of recent decades has build a movement on top of many of these wounds, and using venomous tactics to focus the rage of our injuries towards building more power to control and suppress us. It’s vile and contemptible and entirely their strategy.

    So, sadly, I don’t think this election is poisoning us, but rather it is showing us how poisoned and ill we are.

    In a way, that’s what I think Soonergrunt tapped into. Inadvertently, not wanting to hurt but to understand. None the less, challenging his friend opened a fissure: talking about race and class that openly is hard, hard work. Many are not ready to do it. I commend Soonergrunt for trying, and regret his loss.

    But I’d say that the GOP franticness, the (barely) coded ni*clanging, and aggressive table-turning (only liberals a racists!) is all about suppressing the deep, difficult conversations our nation needs.

    We’re at a painful cusp. I’m not hopeful about the next several years, no matter who’s elected. If it’s Romney, we’ll be in a world of hurt asap, I think. But if Obama keeps the Presidency, the festering and venom will ramp up and ooze and continue to poison us, only in different ways.

    I’m sad that I’m so inclined. I don’t think it has to be that way, we can start to do what needs to be done – people are doing it, at the personal and community levels. I just don’t know if its enough to get us through.

  158. 158
    Mike Furlan says:

    Echoing numerous posts.

    Same thing happened to me a couple of years ago.

    A normally nice, smart friend of mine became deranged on the topic of Barack Obama.

    And then there are the numerous folks that I know, but never really cared about who have become white supremacists since 2008.

    But, that still leaves billions of decent people.

  159. 159
    Citizen Alan says:

    SG, I would apologize for calling him racist. I assume he is not an overt “I hate n*****s” racist or this blowup would have happened years ago. Consequently, I assume his ODS is the result of one of two factors.

    First, there are a lot of people who despise Obama for reasons unrelated to skin color, mainly the fact that he’s a Democrat and forty years of GOP propaganda has persuaded some people that all Democrats, regardless of skin color, are unAmerican, unChristian or both.

    Second, and perhaps more importantly, there is a substrain of racism which is quite obviously racism to any non-racist who looks at it objectively, but which the racist himself will almost never acknowledge to be racism. I am talking about white people who have no problem in the abstract with black people, who have black friends and co-workers, who would be outraged by overtly racist remarks. BUT when a black person is put into a position of authority over them, they freak the fuck out because they know perfectly well the level of oppression that blacks have been subjected to in this country for the past four centuries and they literally cannot believe that a black person would not seek revenge against white people if put into a position to do so. I was told point blank back in 2008 by people who voted for Clinton in the 90’s that they were afraid of Obama because they assumed he would be racist against whites and they thought he was justified in having such attitudes because they would feel that way if they were black! Now, you and I know that such and attitude is just as racist as assuming that every black person in American is a crack addict on Welfare, but you will never persuade someone who fears black people because he knows how badly they have been treated that his attitudes are racist.

  160. 160
    Phoebe says:

    This is horrible, but I think it’s not necessarily the end. Facebook makes it way too easy to impulsively bridge-burn, on a dime, in the heat of a bad moment. beg him to have it o.ut with you in a respectful way. Because this is bullshit.

  161. 161
    Spatula says:

    Sometimes for a variety of reasons, people who were once a net positive in our lives become a net negative. They become toxic. Their presence and influence on our thoughts/emotions/peace of mind begins to drag us down rather than lift us up.

    Doesn’t matter how long they have been in our lives; these things just happen. OR…something happens which causes us to open our eyes and see what was there all along. Maybe they didn’t change…WE did.

    I suspect that over time YOU may have changed a lot more than you realize, SG. Perhaps you have grown and you’re former friend can’t handle it.

    So…we can choose to let them go. And accept/embrace the new reality without them. No bridges need be burned; no drama need be had. Detaching with love is a very simple act; but it’s the DOING of it that is hard.

    I held on to toxic relationships for many YEARS longer than was good for me. Once I made a different choice and acted on it, all kinds of new doors opened in all kinds of new directions.

    It’s painful and wonderful and kind of exciting to clean house in that positive sort of way. No need to lash out, say ugly things, or do anything at all. Mourn but go forward.

    This former friend may have done you a great favor, SG. Food for thought, at least.

  162. 162
    Bulworth says:

    Facebook makes it way too easy to impulsively bridge-burn, on a dime, in the heat of a bad moment.

    This

  163. 163
    dan says:

    I posted an idea upthread. It is thoughtful and positive.

    But I have another idea that is more in line with my personality. Stop being a pussy and tell him to go fuck himself.

  164. 164
    slag says:

    @Rand Careaga:

    There’s something about these low-bandwidth channels that seems to lend itself to such misunderstandings.

    I couldn’t agree more with this. I suspect Facebook rage will be the road rage of the future. If it isn’t already. Too much distance.

  165. 165
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Elly:

    Or I could have waited five minutes and let Elly make my last point more eloquently.

  166. 166
    askew says:

    @Soprano2:

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  167. 167
    Spatula says:

    @mcmullje:

    I can’t put an Obama sticker on my car because I’m afraid of how he will react. I can only hope that at some point sanity will return.

    If you really can’t put a bumper sticker on your own car, expressing your own views, because you FEAR the reaction of your son, then I’m sorry, but in some major ways at least, your son is already an asshole.

    It’s sad that you allow yourself to be intimidated like that. I wouldn’t argue with him either; but I would certainly not alter my behavior on account of my child’s emotional intimidation. That is bullshit.

  168. 168
    Chris says:

    @DFH no.6:

    Every conservative I have ever known or heard about in 6 decades of life was a racist.

    Every. Last. Fucking. One.

    Racist no, bigot yes. There’s more than one kind of bigotry. I’ve met Republicans who were truly fine with people from other races, but they generally made up for it in sexism, homophobia and Islamophobia, among other things. And those very few who are none of these things have class prejudice out the ass. All of them believe that having been born into this or that category makes them better than all the people who weren’t, even if the exact category isn’t always the same.

  169. 169
    hep kitty says:

    @Cmm: I know, I had to question it myself. She sounded a bit too reasonable and reality-based for me! She actually sounded like a rational human being, so that was kinda hard to swallow.

  170. 170
    Anniecat45 says:

    Sooner, I’m so sorry. I had this happen with my stepfather in 2000, during the Bush recount. He’d continued to be a father to me after my mother died, when he didn’t have to (I had gone to live with relatives of my mother), but after a cancer scare he started to listen to Limbaugh. Then he converted to Traditional Catholicism (those are the branch Catholics who think Vatican II was the work of the devil) and in 2000 he cut off all contact with me and told me he never wanted to hear from me or see me again. And he stuck to it.

    It hurt like hell. I wish I could think of something to say that would help you, but I can’t.

    It’s just awful.

  171. 171
    Joel says:

    Jesus man, that really sucks. This is one of the reasons that I never discuss politics with my republican friends. These are generally good guys – not the screeching teabagger types – but they are republican and I basically oppose them on most everything politically. I try to keep in mind that they’re making the same accommodation for me (in their minds) that I am for them.

  172. 172
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    I had a friend who married a guy that abused her before she married him. I couldn’t go to her wedding and I’ve never had contact with her again.

    Be there for her when she leaves the douchebag.

    I had a cousin who married a guy who always treated her with verbal contempt. Finally, when he f**ked another woman, she left him taking the two kids. It was a relief when she finally stood up for herself.

  173. 173
    Cassidy says:

    Interesting aside, I’ve been looking to start buying a couple of guns. I used to have a few, but sold them when times got lean. Anyway, I’ve been in the market for a shotgun, first, and went to a gun store reccommended by some classmates. I walk in, make a bee line for the guns. My daughter, who I had just picked up from school, follows me around then asks me “Why do they have a quote from Hitler on their wall?”. I looked closer and sure enough it’s that bumper sticker with Hitler talking about gun control being a good thing or some blather. At that point, I start noticing all the anti-Obama stuff. We immediately left and i notice on the back of the store’s vehicle it has a huge sign that says “Everything I need to know about Muslims, I learned on 9/11”. I’m gobsmacked I missed all this shit when I walked in, but anyway I love it when businesses do this. It let’s me know where not to spend my money. Same with friends. It lets me know where not to invest my time or energy.

  174. 174
    Clarity says:

    You were wrong about your “friend.”

    If he actually HAD any honor, integrity or moral compass, he wouldn’t pull a stunt like this.

  175. 175
    hep kitty says:

    FB is a tool of the devil

  176. 176
    Chris says:

    @Phoebe:

    Facebook makes it way too easy to impulsively bridge-burn, on a dime, in the heat of a bad moment.

    Because I know that, I usually calm the fuck down and go watch some TV after reading something particularly offensive on Facebook, and then try to forget all about it and see if they’ll calm down as time goes by. That relative-I’ve-never-met I was talking about unfriending the other day? Took a couple years for me to get to the “unfriend” point. But when there’s enough of a pattern to show that yes, they really are fanatic fascists who aren’t going to let this go, there comes a point where… yeah.

    I still haven’t ever unfriended anyone I was truly close to, family or friends, or done the real-life equivalent and stopped talking to them. But there’s a few cases where I can see it coming and am pretty sure I’ll eventually have to. Not looking forward to that.

  177. 177
    RaflW says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    And, oh yeah, Facebook is definitely a net detractor from social capital.

    Yes. I think it is. I was a relatively early adopter, thought it was great then.

    Now it is more and more just a giant marketing machine that is teaching us to market our own lives to our “friends.” Ugh.

    Now, I have some dear friends on FB. And it sometimes helps us be more connected. But more than e-mail? No. More than a phone call? Nope! More than lunch together? Hahaha.

    I’m not ready to leave FB. But I need to make it much less of my day.

  178. 178
    cckids says:

    @WereBear:

    I am very careful NOT to discuss politics with certain members of my family. Because it’s pointless. They hate the President because they believe things about him that are not true. How can I fight that, when their sources are their reality?

    Yes. It breaks my heart to see what FoxNews & right-wing talk radio have done to my parents, especially my dad. The degree of disinformation & just unreality they are exposed to daily is unreal. And I just can’t talk to them about it; especially Dad, he’s sick (leukemia) and it just isn’t worth the raging.
    My best work-around is that when he starts in on politics, I deflect to criticizing the media in some way, & he joins in. We both know we’re talking about different areas of media, but there is lots to bitch about, & it works to get him off politics. Saves both our blood pressure.

  179. 179
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    Truth is this: these people HATE us as people. They detest our very existence. On the other hand, for the most part, we hate their politics.

    @El Tiburon:

    Yep. Your friend would loathe Obama even if his background was as bland as Mittens. Just look at how much contempt they poured on John Kerry. They view Democrats as being un-American and that we should have no role in public life.

  180. 180
    rcade says:

    I told him I couldn’t understand how he couldn’t articulate what it is that he hates so much about the President, and that I feared it was because the President is a black man. I told him that I hoped and prayed that I was wrong.

    If he’s such a good friend, you know already whether he’s a racist or not. A lot of friendships wouldn’t survive one person making a pretty strong suggestion the other is a racist.

    If you don’t think he’s a racist, you ought to apologize.

    If you do, good riddance to him.

  181. 181

    @balconesfault:

    There is, sadly, something about the modern GOP that is very cult-like.

    I can feel Sooner’s pain here. Being a liberal in certain circles can get very… lonely. Especially now that the American ‘wave function’ has abruptly decided to collapse on Mitt Romney and the Republicans.

    The new thing seems to be to reply to every factual statement as ‘how do you know?’ This is very new, and it’s literally scaring me how it seems to suddenly come from everywhere at once in the past few weeks.

    Typical/ordinary example: “Climate change is real.” “HOW DO YOU KNOW?” “Because the majority of established scientists, using established peer-reviewed methods, have come to that conclusion. “HOW DO YOU KNOW?” “Because I’ve seen these methods have great success in resolving other questions.” “HOW DO YOU KNOW?” (and so on– the topic almost doesn’t matter).

    At this point you can challenge them to a debate on epistemology (I would win, I’ve been thinking about the particular question of “how do we know what we know” for over 30 years– it’s my Core), but most ordinary people don’t even know what that is, much less want to talk about it.

    Seriously, I feel like I’m being Gaslighted from all directions. Apparently, liberals are not only ‘wrong’, but now we’re not even granted the human right to know that there are things that are true, and things that are false.

    I’ve done a terrible job explaining this, but I can’t avoid the feeling that there are forces at work that want to take Reality itself away from us.

    This is MIGHTY fucked up.

  182. 182
    Cassidy says:

    I’ve done a terrible job explaining this, but I can’t avoid the feeling that there are forces at work that want to take Reality itself away from us.

    C’thulu?

  183. 183
    Tom says:

    Look at it this way: your former friend clearly has a moral and ethical problem.

    I had a similar situation nearly forty years ago with my best friend and he continued on his amoral path until he lost both his family and the job that he sold his soul to get. You are better off out of this one-way friendship!

  184. 184
    Angela says:

    Soonergrunt: I’ve lost some friends through moving, changes in life experiences, and one because she tried to seduce my new husband. But I have never lost a friend, or faced the thought of losing a friend who has been a true brother and a comrade in arms. I can’t begin to imagine what that might feel like, and to add on top all of the other crap you are dealing with, it feels way too much.

    I’m sorry all this shit is being flung at you. It’s way too much, and yet I have the feeling you will make it through. Because it sounds as if you have been in way too much shit other times too.

  185. 185
    spencer says:

    I had a very similar experience just last week, culminating in my best friend of 28 years calling me a “nigger lover” via text, after arguing that my Facebook status (which read “If the GOP wants people to stop calling them racists, then maybe they should stop saying and doing racist things”) was wrngheaded and unfair, because there were black people who were only voting for Obama because *he’s* black, so reverse racism or something. (Yes, I pointed out the ridiculousness of that statement, and how African Americans have been voting overwhelmingly Democratic since, um, forever.)

    It hurts. I’m sorry you have to go through it. But just know you aren’t alone.

  186. 186
    Barbara says:

    One of my sisters-in-law is a complete wingnut. I simply ignore her political leanings. It seems to me that the one thing you did that might have been a little too strong was to suggest that you question his integrity and motives for voting for Romney. Hey, I would feel the same way, but honestly, I would not expect to remain on good terms with someone if I expressed that thought as openly as you did with your friend.

    I am really sorry and if the friendship means more than those other things, I would try to make amends and avoid discussing politics in too personal terms. So if this were me, I would e-mail him and say, “I don’t want to lose our friendship over politics, let’s agree to disagree.” Honestly though, as sad as it must be, it might be hard for him to accept your overture knowing what you must truly be feeling.

  187. 187
    Short Bus Bully says:

    Give it time.

    Get through the election first and let all the flames die down. Eventually he’ll remember all the shit you had in common and come to his senses. I think it would be tough to try and repair this in the middle of all this election madness.

    Either way I feel for you, this is a hurtful shitty ass thing to have to deal with.

  188. 188
    Tim I says:

    I’m sorry about your friend. We all have too few real friends, so it hurts a lot when we lose one. I do see hope for a reconciliation.

    The way your friend communicated this to you, by un-friending you on Facebook, suggests to me that he may be experiencing some cognitive dissonance about his own belief structure. He didn’t want to argue with you, because on some level he perceives the truth of what you are telling him – but he is unable to face that. I think that as his inner conflict resolves itself (if it ever does) he might welcome your friendship and support.

    I would write him a letter spelling out how much his friendship means to you and letting him know that you will always be his friend and that you hope someday he will once again be open to resuming the friendship.

    I hope that this is the last of your travails and that you enjoy much good fortune in the years to come.

  189. 189
    Short Bus Bully says:

    And un-friending on the Book of Faces is not the end all be all, either. He probably just doesn’t want to see your political posts any more. I used to post lots of political shit on FB and lost FB “friends” over it while we still remained friends in real life.

    We just recognize we can’t talk about politics.

  190. 190
    Frivolous says:

    I’ve been in similar situations, Soonergrunt, but never one as intense as the one you just described.

    I’m so very sorry you lost your friendship. I don’t blame you a bit for crying.

    Please accept my condolences and I hope you feel better sooner rather than later.

  191. 191
    satby says:

    I can hardly believe I’m saying this, but what Spatula said at #161.
    Or what another friend of mine once said: we either keep growing, or we start to shrink up and die.

  192. 192
  193. 193
    gelfling545 says:

    @shortstop: I’m accepting Mr. Soonergrunt’s evaluation of his friend as a man of honor. One does not get such a reputation among one’s peers for such without a certain ability to examine one’s actions & motivations. It is also based on the experience of seeing this happen in several cases lately. I’m not referring to relatives here because that is a whole other thing but when one has been close friends rather than casual acquaintances over long term there is usually a certain fundamental understanding of the person and in this case he finds the idea of racism in this man shocking. When one has to confront a previously unacknowledged trait in one’s personality it can be like being punched and it takes a while, sometimes a long while, to heal. Since the description of this man seems to preclude cowardice, he may find the courage to examine his reasoning.

  194. 194
    Jim Pharo says:

    This is worse than you think. We have gone down this road before, in the 1770s and the 1860s, and I think we’re going down it again. Nor is this an American phenomenon. I suspect there are plenty of Europeans and folks in India who have seen this in their lifetimes, too.

    There are elements of our moneyed interest that thrive on division and hatred. Sadly, they are able to use their wealth and power to drive people into pointless conflicts, with generally catastrophic results.

    We go along our daily lives not really noticing the incremental drip-drip of the larger forces at work. But the right-wing project to divide the country has been successful already, and their prospects are still bright. We are on a course that will lead us to ever-more-bitter hatred and division. We tend to think it will never get all that bad, but that’s wishful thinking. The chances of this ending very badly – whether by us warring with each other or by our leaders warring with others to “unite” us — are high and getting higher.

    Don’t think this can’t happen here. It can.

  195. 195
    Applejinx says:

    If this does come to civil war, and you’re a soldier, I hope you’re enough of a soldier to fight for your damn country against enemies external and internal.’

    I see maniacs, fighting for power, frequently turning vigilante individually when not vowing armed insurrection collectively. You’re almost certainly a better soldier than I could be, because I am not a soldier at all.

    Don’t you get all pearl-clutchy and give up on us now. Your friend could have been killed in action and you’d have grieved. If he had turned his weapons on his fellows, you would not still view him as a friend. What are you willing to put up with now that he is (presumably) safe and no longer behind enemy lines?

    If he figures he is behind enemy lines IN AMERICA, what are your responsibilities to him and to your fellows as far as what you do about it? I guarantee ‘weep, because he’s entitled to his opinion’ is not one of them.

    You don’t know where this guy is, along the wingnut insanity spectrum. Maybe you hope he is more insane just so you don’t have to view him as small, vile and evil- maybe seeing him as tragically misled sits better with you. But you’re gonna have to deal with the fact that he is fucking wrong and aligning himself with gratituously wrong people who’ve unilaterally abandoned the way this country operates, at least as far back as when they got together and agreed to block every single thing the President did- on the record.

    So your brother is a betrayer. Do you think this is a game? Do you think the people talking to him and telling him how to think, think this is a game?

  196. 196
    Chris says:

    @Jim Pharo:

    This is worse than you think. We have gone down this road before, in the 1770s and the 1860s, and I think we’re going down it again. Nor is this an American phenomenon. I suspect there are plenty of Europeans and folks in India who have seen this in their lifetimes, too.

    If what’s left of the safety net dies completely, then yes, I see civil war happening at some point down the line. If it doesn’t, then my bet is that too many people have too much invested in society not getting Sherman’d to pieces to risk it in war. Could be wrong.

  197. 197
    slag says:

    @satby: I had the same reaction.

  198. 198
    Zippity says:

    I’ve found that it’s easier to just unsubscribe from people in my newsfeed. You don’t have to unfriend them, you can still go to their page and see posts. I’ve done this with younger friends making 5 posts an hour about what they are doing that very second. It also works with people who become overtly political during election season. It’s much better for my peace of mind.

  199. 199
    Zastrozzi says:

    Soonergrunt, I am really sorry to hear this. It may take some time, but don’t give up hope that you and your friend can patch things up one day.

  200. 200
    Tokyokie says:

    Soonergrunt,
    I’m terribly sad to hear about that. I used to regularly attend a tailgate before Oklahoma football games, but during the election campaign four years ago, I finally got fed up with the blowhard fundamentalist Christian in the group, and when he said, in so many words, that he thought that exterminating all the world’s Muslims would solve everybody’s problems, I let him have it. Pointed out that he was proposing genocide on a scale 100 times that of the Nazis and questioned how that squared with his Christian beliefs. Asked him how he proposed accomplishing murder on such a scale, seeing that nuking the entire Middle East would remove its oil from the world market basically forever, and killing that many people would mean murdering three or four Muslims for every American citizen and asked him if he was prepared to do his part and shoot a couple of Muslim babies in the head.

    Like you, I didn’t broach the political issue, but like you, I couldn’t allow this guy to not appreciate the utter evil of his position. The guy stopped coming to the tailgates, and with attendance dwindling to nearly nothing, we stopped doing them the next season. I’m not proud of what I said to the right-winger, and I sorely miss the camaraderie of the tailgates (although it’s nothing close to the emotional connection you had with your Army buddy), but I’ll never regret speaking the truth, and you shouldn’t either. The right-winger from the tailgate was comfortable in his awful prejudices, and apparently remains so, judging from reports of his Facebook postings. Hopefully, your buddy will not prove as intractable and you’ll be able to move forward with your friendship.

    Hope things get better soon.

  201. 201
    Ruckus says:

    @balconesfault:
    It is not cult like. It is a cult.
    I have a family member who has been in a cult for decades(scientology)
    When a person is in a cult they believe every thing from the cult and everything else is WRONG. There are no discussions, there are no arguments, everything that is not of the cult is just wrong. There is no logic or argument that will change that. Losing will not show them anything, it will only make their resolve stronger. In this case they will have to become more conservative but in cultism this means that they haven’t believed strongly enough. It’s never the fault of the cult, always the members depth of commitment. This is why I am afraid for this country. Somewhere around a third or more of it’s population is a member of a cult whose goal is basically the destruction of a democracy.

    ETA. There are lots of reasons why a cult can gain strength. Some of them are outside reasons that affect the particular person, some of them are systemic to the cult. The key is that the only way out is from the person involved. In this way it is like an addiction. They have to want out to get out.

  202. 202
    Tim C says:

    Just have to add one thing that’s important. Even if we lose, even if the GOP gains control of everything (which by the way in the long run would be a titanic disaster for them as well as everyone else)

    We can’t lose hope that we can make things better.

    We can’t lose hope that we can help people come back to sanity and justice.

    We can’t forsake those who wallow in hate and intolerance any more than we should stop defending those who are the victims of that hate.

    Now go out and donate and work people, and should the worst happen, our work isn’t over, it’s only just begun.

  203. 203
    Thymezone says:

    I feel your pain. My brother, intractable fundamentalist Christian right wing lunatic, and I, lifelong liberal Democrat, have not spoken for about ten years. I taught him to throw a baseball. I watched in proud amazement as he grew up being one of the smartest and best people on earth …. and now I can’t speak to him.

    I think families who lived through the Civil War experienced things like this.

  204. 204
    WereBear says:

    @Citizen Alan: BUT when a black person is put into a position of authority over them, they freak the fuck out because they know perfectly well the level of oppression that blacks have been subjected to in this country for the past four centuries and they literally cannot believe that a black person would not seek revenge against white people if put into a position to do so. I was told point blank back in 2008 by people who voted for Clinton in the 90’s that they were afraid of Obama because they assumed he would be racist against whites and they thought he was justified in having such attitudes because they would feel that way if they were black!

    It’s awfully tangled, isn’t it?

    They are vengeful haters so they assume everyone else is, too.

  205. 205
    Dr. Squid says:

    Sorry to hear that. SG. I wouldn’t have had the heart to tell him that his Obamahate might be racially motivated. I might have said something about him being a crummy communist for letting the Dow double in less than 4 years. Or that he’s a lousy gun-grabber for letting gun rights get expanded. Or a crummy terror-symp for offing so many terrorists. Saying that he might have been a racist would’ve been a bridge too far for me.

    My brothers don’t have political discussions, because they wouldn’t be discussions – they’d be a bunch of guys shouting “Amen” since we all seem to agree and that gets boring. My cousins on the other hand… One is a converted Mormon who just got diagnosed with a genetic orthopedic condition, and I haven’t got the heart to tell her that she (and her PKU daughter, and another daughter with the same joint syndrome) can be covered by health insurance now. Another one repeats the wingnut line, but draws a very bright line at teacher-bashing, as her husband is a music teacher and she posts very NEAish material about it.

    Though we’re way off on that subject, I don’t even think about unfriending them.

  206. 206
    Ruckus says:

    Sooner
    Sorry about all the crap. Hope it gets better soon.

  207. 207
    TG Chicago says:

    This sounds like it was an email conversation. That sort of thing often causes problems. Try to speak to him in person or on the phone. I bet you can sort this out if you’re face-to-face or at least voice-to-voice. Good luck.

  208. 208
    Maude says:

    Sooner, he meant to hurt you.
    The past is the past. That was then, this is now.
    I would feel the loss and then get angry.
    You aren’t missing out on anything. He isn’t a friend now.

  209. 209
    The Moar You Know says:

    Oh yeah: got a family member, openly racist. Obviously not voting for Obama. Gets enraged when called out on her open racism.

    That probably was not the best thing you could have said to him. But, like you, I’m tired of coddling racists and pretending that they’ll cool in spite of it.

  210. 210
    SBJules says:

    I’m so sorry about your friend, Sooner. I lost a client last time Obama was elected. I was pretty sure she was Conservative, but we really got along well. She kept asking me who I was going to vote for; I kept saying I didn’t think we should talk politics, but she kept on & kept on, so I told her Obama & she’s not my client anymore. That’s OK with me, but I did like her. This election, I have Obama/Biden sticker on my car; I really don’t care if I lose any business over it; I don’t think I will. We have a new Neighbor who has a Romney sign in front of his house. What a blight.

  211. 211
    Ruckus says:

    @Soprano2:
    It is tough. My sister passed away a few years ago and now I temporally live in her old house. You can do it, it is just hard and painful. Remember the good parts and why you loved her. That makes it a bit easier.

  212. 212
    Mike Furlan says:

    @Spatula:
    Because I fear the reaction of any police officer that might see it?

  213. 213
    Dan says:

    Attempt to be the bigger man. Concede some or all of his points. Stress to him (and perhaps to yourself) that friendship is more valuable than politics. It may even be true!

  214. 214
    Robby-D says:

    First off, don’t sweat it, guy code dictates that:
    – Guys can get angry and do and say things that hurt the other person or they may regret
    – Guys can go back and apologize and be friends again.

    As many people have said above, de-friending on Facebook is too easily done and does not mean somebody isn’t your friend anymore. Think of it like him ignoring a phone call from you. Most people don’t realize the weight of what they’re doing, and you can’t read his mind to find out what he’s really thinking until you talk.

    As for those who say he’s not your friend, they’re wrong, dead wrong. Friends trump politics. Even if he campaigns for Romney, donates for Romney, and even if Romney wins and he celebrates, you need to still treasure your friendship with him. It’s ONLY POLITICS.

    If you said derogatory things about somebody’s religion, and they de-friended you, what would you do? You’d apologize, agree that you can disagree, and ask to be friends again. Politics are like people’s religions – there’s a lot of faith, belief, and emotion involved, and you can think people are wrong about their politics but still be friends with them as long as you still respect them.

    Call your friend. I’m going to bet he’s as upset as you.

    Oh, and I learned once that when people are hurt, only the strongest of people react by acting hurt – most react with anger instead. If he sounds angry with you, it’s because he’s hurt. Say you’re sorry. Be friends again. Romney/Obama is NOT worth it.

  215. 215
    The Moar You Know says:

    So your brother is a betrayer. Do you think this is a game? Do you think the people talking to him and telling him how to think, think this is a game?

    @Applejinx: This is where I’m coming from. Liberals tend to think that this is a “debate”. A debate where you’re telling people which of their neighbors should die isn’t a fucking debate.

    Reluctantly, I will be adding a Ruger Mini-14 to the collection this week. I’m not a fan of semi-auto battle rifles but I’m also not a fan of getting shot by a Fox-fueled mob without having any possible way to fight back.

  216. 216
    kindness says:

    We all have nut cases in our lives. Most learn what they can and can’t say around us just as we do about them. Some don’t care and go on pushing the buttons of those around them anyhow.

    I was raised to not antagonize others and to be socially nice. Having said that, that involves others doing the same thing back. If someone is going to go out of their way to make a gathering edgy and uneasy because of their ego (and at that point it is ego) the only proper response is to be completely honest with them even if it does raise the unease of the moment.

    It works both ways or at least it is supposed to.

  217. 217
    Elizabelle says:

    @Cassidy:

    I hope you drop that gun shop owner a note — unsigned, if you like, telling him you walked in to buy, and walked out because of what he had on his walls.

    He’s entitled to his free speech. But losing a sale has got to hurt.

  218. 218
    kindness says:

    @The Moar You Know: For the kind of money a Mini-14 goes for now days you’d be better off with a .308 from one of the decent manufacturers.

  219. 219
    The Moar You Know says:

    So…we can choose to let them go. And accept/embrace the new reality without them. No bridges need be burned; no drama need be had. Detaching with love is a very simple act; but it’s the DOING of it that is hard.

    @Spatula: I had a friend. Good friend, decades. She became a prescription pill addict and then a full-bore junkie, with all the petty theft, crazed behavior, and incessant lying that entails (if you’ve never known one, you honestly have no idea how awful it is). She changed. Not remotely the same person and never will be again.

    And you are right, it is so so simple to let them go. Wish them well, even. But so fucking hard to actually DO it.

  220. 220
    Ruckus says:

    @Bulworth:
    I have left FB once before. Including scrubbing as best as possible all traces. I rejoined when I found out about a new group that sounded great based on a hobby I used to enjoy. I was friending many. Too many. I have cut back those that fill the wall with political crap, that wasn’t what the group was about.
    This leads me to a thing I think I figured out and that is pertinent here. Most of us, if we are lucky have a few close long term friends. Seldom are the relatives. They are people we meet in passing, like Sooner has here. If you are extremely lucky they will be friends in hard times(whatever that is) and good. It’s almost like a good marriage. But this seems to me to be rare. Very rare in fact. And that makes them all the harder to lose if and when that happens, because it really is rare. I think that is why we are all so sorry for Sooner, a friendship like his is rare and we know it.

  221. 221
    The Moar You Know says:

    @kindness: I’ve been shopping for the GOOD gun for years – 30.06/.308, hell, even .338. Obviously not semiauto, I like long-distance shooting.

    This isn’t it. I frankly resent the necessity I’m seeing for it, it’s not the kind of gun I would buy as it’s not where my shooting interests lie. Essentially, I’m basically looking for a crowd-control gun with better range than a shotgun, and the Mini-14 fits that bill. Should have bought one back in 2002 when they were going for the then-outrageous price of $349.

  222. 222
    good2go says:

    Oh my, the tears are welling up just reading the post. I’m sorry…sorry for you, for your friend, for our country–that we’ve been brought to this place by a few manipulative bastards. Maybe your friend will feel different in a year, or two, or five. For now you have the right to feel shitty. So do we.

  223. 223
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @karen marie: Yes, but my point is that directly telling someone they’re “probably racist” does nothing to move the conversation forward or get someone to think about anything—it puts them in an immediately defensive position.

    I kinda disagree. If it weren’t true, wouldn’t he immediately deny it? Wouldn’t he be justifying for Sooner why it’s really something else?

    When the arrow misses the mark I tend to complain loudly, but when it hits I tend to get real quiet.

    If Sooner’s friend really is the man he makes him out to be, methinks he hit the mark.

  224. 224
    DonR9 says:

    That’s what we’ve come to. We have to compartmentalize to an almost impossible degree. I’ve stopped playing golf with some people, stopped socializing with others – because they are Republicans and I’m a Democrat.

    It’s incredibly sad.

    I feel terrible for your loss

  225. 225

    @Lee:

    Defriending takes two clicks. It takes much more than that to actually sever a close friendship.

    I agree with this. Give him some time to cool off. Maybe it will be limited to Facebook.

  226. 226
    ruemara says:

    My condolences to you, SG and to Soprano2. These losses are hard to bear. And stop saying Sooner should apologize for calling his friend a racist. He didn’t call him a racist, he did point out a telling lack of reason behind his friend’s view and a fairly obvious conclusion that could be drawn. I still have a few republican friends, but considering the quality of friends that I have, I’m not sure if losing any of them, R or D, would be that harsh. At least you have had that friend that sticks closer than a brother. Hang in there.

  227. 227
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Elly:

    When my kids were in elementary school, I was shocked to discover that the US “history” they were given was even more sanitized than what I “learned” 30 years earlier. Any facts that could make white people uncomfortable were either omitted (Indian wars) or presented as ancient history (slavery).

    This is true. There is an all-out assault on education especially social studies, history, philosophy, biology, sex education. It started at least in the 1970s and has grown since then with the Religious Right taking over school boards and so on.

    They often couch it as “They’re teaching Ebonics!” “Multiculturalism!” “Revisionism!” “Attacking the Bible!” but whatever it is, it’s the first, best effort to defend ignorant know-nothingism from the onslaught of modernity.

    I guess they’re losing because today they advise the parents to take their kids out of school and they’re attacking school funding outright.

    Be afraid.

  228. 228
    JustRuss says:

    IT’S NOT ABOUT RACE. Ok, with some of them, sure it is. But a lot of my conservative friends hated Clinton just as much as they hate Obama, hell, maybe more. Calling them racists doesn’t solve anything, it just shuts everything down.

    I don’t have a problem calling out racist behavior or remarks, but when someone says they’re not voting for Obama, but can’t articulate why, “You must be a racist” shouldn’t be our default position. Fact is, most conservatives believe in the inherent superiority of conservatism, hence IOKIYAR and all that. It’s tribalism, and they’ll never vote for anyone who’s not in their tribe, even if their candidate is a disaster, because they know their candidate’s soul is pure, and that’s what matters to them. And of course, anyone who’s not conservative is stupid or evil, so who’d vote for them?

    What bothers me is that I tend to think of conservatives as stupid or evil…so am I as blind as they?

  229. 229
    kindness says:

    @The Moar You Know: Yea I know. I like shooting distance targets so I’m more a larger bore type. I can’t afford the Browning A-bolt I want (the M-1000 .338 Lapua Mag) but if things get crazy I might just scrape up the money. .223 is good for plinking and crowd sweeping…I just don’t want to get that close to the crazies.

  230. 230
    veryslowwriter says:

    @DFH no.6:

    Every conservative I have ever known or heard about in 6 decades of life was a racist.

    This. I know as good liberals we’re supposed to cut these people a lot of slack. Because that’s what we do. But it really is too late for that.

    Many years ago the liberals at NOW thought they could have a “dialog” with the anti-choicers. That the anti-choice women just misunderstood the situation. No, there was no misunderstanding. The NOW people found that out in a hurry.

    And no, Soonergrunt, you and your friend aren’t misunderstanding each other. The defining issue for the US for two full centuries has been that of race. Pick a side. Not “oh we just need more education more communication this is all a misunderstanding.” Because it’s not. This election, like all the previous ones, is about race. It’s just more visible now.

  231. 231
    The Moar You Know says:

    @kindness: Looks like you and I have the same tastes in firearms. I’m leaning towards a good 30.06 shooting match grade for fun, although a .338 would be a dream come true. Spendy, though.

    .223 is good for plinking and crowd sweeping…I just don’t want to get that close to the crazies.

    My goal would be to not to have to shoot anyone. What’s changed is that I no longer think that’s a realistic goal, given the eliminationist rhetoric I’ve been hearing out of the far right over the last two years. That being the case, when it goes down I’d rather be as far as possible from the lunacy myself, but I live in some pretty dense suburbia that in fifty more years will be packed as tight as SF or NY is – I have no options about being close to the crazies.

    God help us all. We could use the assistance.

  232. 232
    Cassidy says:

    @Elizabelle: Considering the small margin on guns, you’re probably right. I hadn’t thought about that and will have to give it some thought.

    @kindness: You can get an off the shelf, standard Mini 14 for less than an M4 carbine. What drives up the market is how cheap and easy they are to mod, so $450-$500 5.56 rifle gets sold on the second market for $700+. If I’m gonna spend that kind of money, I’m liking the Mossberg MMR.

    @The Moar You Know: See above regarding MMR. As much as I love the 5.56 NATO, and that’s my ideal SHTF rifle, it isn’t much use as a crowd controller. It’s most accurate within 300m, better at 100m or less, and you can be reached out and touched at those distances as well. Fear is what controls crowds and nothing is scarier than the all purpose, “stop wtf you’re doing sound” of a pump shotgun. Me, i’d get the Ruger just to have it as it’s a great gun, but if I wanted semi-auto, scary, and beefy, I’d pick up a Saiga in .410 or 12g.

  233. 233
    Darkrose says:

    I’m so sorry. This really has been a shit month for you.

    Hugs if you want them.

  234. 234

    Sooner, I’m sorry to hear that.

    Unfortunately, when I had that same situation, I’m the one that had to unfriend.

    Colleague of mine in Dallas. I knew he was conservative and ex-Massachusetts; that combination makes for some sick jokes at my expense (this Hound is still a Masshole) but I could just laugh it off. I’ve always loved political humor.

    We would tell jokes to each other about each party; he told me the one about GWB “losing” his presidential library after spilling juice on his coloring books. In turn I told him about Bill Clinton’s Presidential Library: A stack of Playboys!

    But since 2008, my colleague got bitter and harder. He lost his youngest daughter in a car accident. I did my best to give him kind words over IM and sent his family a card.

    I blew off his politics postings for years. Then, a few months ago, he told me an Obama joke: What’s the difference between Obama and his dog? Bo has papers!

    I nearly lost it right there.

    I let it go. Now, as a Masshole, I have a senator to elect. Most Balloon Juicers know about Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown, and of the latter’s race baiting.

    My IM friend goes, “Oh, you hear about Fauxcahontas? She’s not really a lawyer!”

    I am nearly 50.

    I have NEVER heard Indian jokes since leaving grade school. EVER. Until this year.

    That was enough.

    Of course I’m sorry to defriend him. I’m sure it will come back to bite me.

    But I have had more than a taste of the sort of things minorities go through when they hear insults and know they can’t complain because, well, they’re too sensitive and shut up that’s why.

    I will be damned if I’m going to hear that crap. I won’t put up with it.

  235. 235
    state22 says:

    Stop now.

    Call him back. In real time. Leave a voice mail if he doesn’t answer. Again and again. And then write a snail mail, with flowers.

    This is too important to lose. This is generational. You will need each other again sometime tomorrow.

    Apologize for being too harsh – not for what you think or for where you stand, but for being too harsh. And do it again.

    I’m betting that you guys pissed each other off over there more than once…. and made up. It’s harder to make up over here. There’s more grovelling involved because there is less in-your-face time.

    Apologize. And apologize. And then make your friendship about being friends and buddies not about this. Over the next 30 years you will need each other for dozens of things that have nothing to do with 2012.

    Get back into it for next year. And the year after. Then later.

  236. 236
    Yutsano says:

    Meant to do this earlier: Hugz. Just hugz.

  237. 237
    Binky Bear says:

    the thing about the truth is that even ugly truths only hurt for a little bit.
    Plus Facebook is evil and encourages petulant, shitty, weak and small behavior. It’s electronic Heathers. Don’t take it too seriously and don’t let it ruin your life-it means no more than a teenage kid slamming the door while telling you how you’re the worst parent in the world.
    Get better.

  238. 238
    oddjob says:

    “…For you fine people in the rest of the country, it’s a newer phenomenon. But the majority of voters in our state grew weary of all the shifting, flipping, and word-mincing a long time ago. That is why this rally for the former governor of Massachusetts is happening here in New Hampshire, safely across the border.”

    (End of a very worthwhile article in the current issue of Boston Magazine illustrating why Romney’s tenure as governor of Massachusetts strongly testifies against his fitness to be president.)

    I’m sorry about the seeming loss of your friend and hope the friendship can be resumed in the future.

  239. 239
    Brachiator says:

    @Sooner:

    Like I was telling Imani, I’m 42 years old, and I’ve seen and experienced things that have burned my soul, and I can’t stop crying about this.

    Man, this is really sad.

    I don’t know if the breach is reparable, and certainly would not presume to offer advice. But I can see, I can feel, how this knocks the wind out of you and came at the worst possible time.

    I can’t do much more than hope you can bounce back from all the hits, and to thank you for the way in which you were able to open up about it.

    My brother is gone.

    Yeah, I have been there. It ain’t easy.

    But you can get through it.

  240. 240
    Chris says:

    @JustRuss:

    IT’S NOT ABOUT RACE.

    YES IT IS.

    Ok, with some of them, sure it is. But a lot of my conservative friends hated Clinton just as much as they hate Obama, hell, maybe more. Calling them racists doesn’t solve anything, it just shuts everything down.

    Yes, Clinton was white. So was Carter. So was Johnson. It doesn’t matter. Because ever since the sixties, Democrats have been The Party Of People Who Want To Take Your Money And Give It To Those Lazy Darkies. And that’s how long it’s had a problem with voters like this.

    Democrats are the party of These People, and whether their specific candidate is white or black doesn’t change that.

  241. 241
    Roger says:

    Sorry to have to say this as well but you called him a racist and he has a right to be pissed.

    The best I think you can do is to let him know how important his friendship is and how sorry you are that your country’s toxic politics can drive a wedge even between brothers.

    And if you make up you just have to accept that politics is not something you two can ever talk seriously about again….

  242. 242
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    This is the result of years of Republicans depicting anyone who votes Democratic as a traitor or enemy to the nation. Divide and conquer as a political strategy only ends up destroying everyone.

    I remember something Howard Dean said in his capacity as DNC chair after the 2004 debacle. He was asked how the party was going to recover from that & he had a 3-point plan that went something like:

    1. Show up.
    2. Listen.
    3. Stand up for your principles.

    He explained point 1 thus: It’s easy for the GOP to convince their target audience that Democrats are the spawn of Satan when the only Democrats they know of are on the TV screen. It’s a lot harder when they find out that someone they know & value (relative, neighbor, army or school buddy, childhood friend) is a Democrat.

    (NB The other two points meant “listen to our opponents for common ground where we can work together” and “if we compromise the things we believe in in hopes of winning an election, we will win neither elections nor respect.”)

    I thought at the time this was a superb strategy.

    The most distressing thing about soonergrunt’s story is that it shows that “showing up” doesn’t work any more–for too many on the other side, ideology–or should we say, maintaining the validity of the twisted alternate reality they live in–trumps everything, down to & including the closest ties of blood & affection.

    And if you can’t break through the demonization, the rest doesn’t matter–they don’t want us to listen, & they sure don’t want to hear what we think, they want us to sit down & STFU & let them (or rather let the leaders who are screwing them over as much as they’re screwing us) run the country.

    I fear for the Republic.

  243. 243
    jenn says:

    Sooner, I’m so sorry – sending you best wishes. I don’t really have any advice, except that if it were me, I’d be trying to get a communication as close to in person as I could, to see what’s really going on. I wouldn’t take a facebook flounce as final. And friendships can wax and wane – my best friend from high school is still one of my best friends, with all the history from our youth and the deeper shit from adulthood that we’ve had to wade through, but we had several years where we weren’t really close friends. Oddly, I think our friendship might even be stronger because of that time. Hope your pneumonia clears up soon.

  244. 244
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    I’m gonna play devil’s advocate and say, while it sucks that you lost someone you had a great connection and history with, if he really feels so strongly about his (and your) politics trumping your friendship, then maybe he’s one of those friends that you’ll be better off without. I know personally, I would have a tough time being friends with someone like that knowing that they probably think very little of me when I’m not around, and that I certainly would feel the same about his. All relationships change and many expire as life progresses. It’s sad, but what can you do. He probably was also stung by the fact that you suggested racism on his part, which probably hit a little too close to the truth.

    But as many others have pointed out, reconciliation may be possible in time. And if that’s what you end up wanting, there’s no harm in trying. That said, my instinctive response would be more of “well if you think so little of my liberal values then fuck off.” Of course none of my friendships have the same life/death/war aspects that yours has so obviously that makes a difference.

  245. 245
    Barry says:

    I’m sorry. This sucks.

    There’s no way for it not to suck hard. I hope something happens soon in your life that’s a lot better than this.

  246. 246
    philbert says:

    Sooner – it’s like a cold Civil War – blue vs gray, brother vs brother, right vs wrong. It’s crazy that these giant ego clashes can be so damaging.

    Whatever happened or will happen can’t change who you are or who he is. It’s pretty obvious you have great respect for this human being. That doesn’t change or disappear because of Mitt Romney or Barack Obama or anything.

    You may have bruised his ego, but his ego is not him. His ego body slammed yours with the unfriend deal. But you are still you.

    You must retrace the path to yourself to find the path to your brother.

  247. 247
    AFvet says:

    Soonergrunt, I am going through something similar. I am a black, female veteran as well and a graduate of the Air Force Academy (many moon ago). My roommate there became closer to me than my own sister. We were both stationed at the same base for our first assignments out of the Academy. We decided back at 22 yrs of age that we were destined to always be in each others lives. She flew across country to help celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary. This person, if she thought I was in danger would throw herself in front of a bullet rather than see me harmed. She is a lifelong Republican, I lean Democrat and honestly have never voted for a Republican in all my years of voting. About 4 months ago we had a very long conversation about this election year. She hated Obama but couldn’t articulate why. In fact Obama had a keynote address at her daughter’s University and she pronounced that it was a campaign speech. She then launched into a discussion about how Obama didn’t need to do that and then started listing his accomplishments. Then she shut down completely. Became angry and upset. She has not unfriended me, but we have not spoken or talked for several months. The conversation was horrific for me and I believe left both of us very shaken because this person that I love and trust above almost anyone is at the very least an unthoughtful person and and at the worst she is possibly a racist. I couldn’t be more hurt by her if she had literally shot me. I do think our friendship will continue after the election, but I’m also convinced it will be forever changed and not in a good way…

  248. 248
    dianne says:

    We broke off with a couple we’ve known for years over the hateful, bigoted emails they kept sending. I don’t think we’ll be making up with them at all. I just don’t want to know people like that anymore. The last email was a you tube video rated explicit that showed the differences between Dem women and Repub women – it would have been vile had we opened it but we didn’t and blocked all future emails.

  249. 249
    Ruckus says:

    @AFvet:
    What I hear in both Sooner’s and your comments is that you had not just a friend but a bond that goes way beyond friendship. This bond is for most greater than the bond between siblings. It is a bond that you both thought had no bounds, it is literally a bond to die for. This is a rare thing indeed. But this bond is not as solid as we think it is because it still needs continuous gluing from both sides to keep it. When one side breaks that bond it will rarely ever be able to be mended back to the whole it was. And that’s a real shame because real friends are hard to find and almost harder to keep.
    And yet I think it is up to each one of us to determine if there is enough value left there to try.

  250. 250
    Mary Brown says:

    Like everyone has said, so sorry for all the crud you’re going through.

    There is a devilish voice in my head that’s thinking, but wait, it could get worse, Romney could win….

    I hope you and your wife are on the mend, physically and mentally and that your household catastrophes are over. Hang in there.

  251. 251
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    told him I couldn’t understand how he couldn’t articulate what it is that he hates so much about the President, and that I feared it was because the President is a black man. I told him that I hoped and prayed that I was wrong.

    Herm. You said something a great many people translate as “I think you’re a racist, and I really hope I’m wrong, but I don’t trust you *not* to be racist.”

    And he got upset.

    That’s really not surprising.

    Look: I’m not saying this to dump on you when you’re down. I’m really sorry at how things went. But a person has to be ready for something like that from a friend.

    To a lot of people being called a “racist” means being accused of a hideous, hideous crime. That’s a common meme that’s spread to protect privilege – you damn well better not call someone racist unless you have absolute proof because otherwise, you’re doing something horrible to that person, something much more horrible than day-to-day racism and injustice!

    And the odds are he doesn’t understand what you meant. I mean, if you meant that you thought he was racist, okay, that’s one thing. If you said it and meant it, and it upset him, then that’s not good, but at least it’s in the open.

    But I don’t think that’s what you’re describing. And if you thought he was unconsciously prejudiced, and just couldn’t realize that’s what bugged him about Obama, that’s something else – and that’s really subtle and a lot of folks won’t ever be able to understand that.

    And if you do think it’s unexamined prejudice, and if he did hear an accusation of bigotry, well, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t *intend* to accuse him of bigotry – that’s still what he heard, and from someone he cares deeply about. And if that’s the case, you might want to apologize. Not because you did something evil and awful, but because you hurt him and didn’t intend to.

  252. 252
    the ricker says:

    42 years old, served our country and been in war and your worried about being “Un-friended”? get over it and move on with your life, you obviously are the better person here. Also, please get over the race issue.

  253. 253
    IonOtter says:

    I don’t know if this has been said or not, but this was a conversation that should have been held in person. NOT OVER THE INTERNET!

    There is no emotion over the Internet.

    You can’t see his face, he can’t see yours.

    Neither of you can see the set of each others jaw, the way one or the other looks away, or any other million tiny cues that comprise human emotion that is shared between two very good friends.

    The absence of those cues took away your Asshole Filters, and you spoke your mind, unhindered, unimpeded, without caution, compassion or consideration.

    If you want to save your friendship, you’ve got a few things to do, here?

    1. Apologize for posting this. Sure, you’re hurt? But that was no reason to come bawling here on the Internet. You SHOULD have gone to HIM. Personally. Face to face. At the very least, you should have gone to someone private, such as your wife or a non-involved party. Don’t delete it, either. You said it, you stand by it. You can add a public apology later, if you think you should.

    2. Ask if you can see him and talk. Don’t jump into the politics right away, for God’s Sake, just go out for coffee and reconnect. (Coffee, not beer. Bad idea.)

    3. Be patient. Speaking from experience, this is going to take a while. Longer than the election, most likely. If Romney loses, it’ll take even longer, because he’ll be hurt that his candidate lost, and might think that *you* are gloating.

    You trusted him with your life, and he trusted you with his.

    Don’t let the Internet fuck that up.

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