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Friends & politics

November 7, 2010

“The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.” -Henry David Thoreau

I made two friends in college, Larry and Heidi. That’s all. And since I started at the University of Michigan rooming with a friend from Grand Rapids who I subsequently lost as a friend, well, my net record for the four years is one.

Not too impressive.

I have a high tolerance for people in general, but few impress me sufficiently to make them lifelong friends. When someone like that does come along, I’m loyal and adamant and a bit bull-headed about the whole thing. You see that little sailorman statue up there on the right? Heidi gave me that in 1973. Not only do I still have the little guy, he’s still holding the Bic pen cap from my sophomore year. Go ahead, call me weird.

Referring to the fact that we live a long way from each other and seldom-or-never see each other, Larry once asked me, “Why do you insist on being friends with me?” I gave him some sort of pseudo-philosophical rationale, but I really can’t explain it. All I know is I liked him immensely within five minutes of meeting him in 1972 and ain’t nobody gonna change my mind. So stop whining, Larry, and accept your fate.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” -C.S. Lewis
Recently, the immovable object of my adamancy met the irresistible force of liberal insanity and it cost my friendship with Heidi. After almost forty years, we split over politics… so my net college friend score is now zero.

I hope Larry can handle the pressure of everything depending on him. I’d hate to see my score turn negative.

One of the biggest differences between liberals and conservatives is that liberals have little sense of humor and even less sense of perspective. When people decide they can replace God as the arbiter of man’s affairs, politics becomes serious indeed and the liberal attitude toward ideological dispute reflects this. A conservative can call you an idiot, explain in passionate detail why your ideas are trash, speak poorly about your mother for raising such an ignorant jackass, and then share a beer with you in convivial camaraderie with no cognitive dissonance… that’s the perspective which comes from knowing that governments are merely the affairs of men, not the province of the higher powers which truly matter.

A liberal will spit in your beer, throw cans in your glass recycling box, report you to the IRS for not having government-approved health insurance, and then hold a grudge against your family unto the third and fourth generations.

For people on the left there is no higher power. Politics has replaced religion, government has replaced God, and they live in perpetual tension worrying about who next will contradict their sacred dogma. When I put Heidi on the mailing list for my website I knew she was a liberal, but I didn’t realize how far the disease had progressed. Eventually I got around to asking her what she thought. She was aghast.
YOU are JPAttitude??????????????????? Sorry, I just delete them when they come in. Now I might take a look, but if you’re in agreement with the Republicans, please take me off your list! I will, however, have contact with you as Jim. -Heidi
The conversation – all of it by email – went downhill from there. I tried to humor her, and suggested that rather than rejecting the website out-of-hand she should write some guest columns explaining her viewpoint.
Not good for my blood pressure. Plus, I don’t want to contribute to the frenzy out there among the tea-party set (riling them up and thus encouraging them to vote).
I persevered, suggesting that writing might be cathartic, helping her blood pressure instead of hurting it. She responded with the gospel of atheism.
Democratic government helps the many, not the few, and is a moral institution. In the ideal, we do not judge others. We let them live as they wish to live.
You see what I mean about government replacing God? I don’t make this stuff up, ya know. Man replacing God is the bedrock of liberal philosophy. Do you like the “we do not judge others” line? That’s the mantra liberals chant right before they call fellow Americans “hateful ignorant racist Tea Baggers.”

She continued, and now she got personal.
We create our own reality. If you are not satisfied with your life, change it. In this country, you can do that without interference from authority. (Your blog is not censored.) But don’t impose your fears and anger on me (you closet tea-partier!).
What a weird thing to say. Heidi and I haven’t seen each other in twenty years, and she knows nothing about me beyond what she gleaned from a few emails. Why in the world she thought I was unsatisfied with life and consumed with fear and anger, I don’t know. I do get angry when my pizza order is wrong, and I’m somewhat fearful of spiders that surprise me, but I’m happy with life. Honest. Just two weeks ago I smiled in the middle of the day for no specific reason.

She returned to the issue of my psychological dysfunction.
I don’t understand where this anger and negativity is coming from. It appears to me that you see the negative only, and do not reflect upon or absorb the positive in your life.
When you debate liberals, this is what happens. No matter how polite you are, they accuse you of hate, anger, and bigotry. It’s some kind of knee-jerk reaction they’re trained to make in How-To-Be-A-Liberal seminars, I guess. They are uncomfortable in the realm of reason because their politics are fundamentally irrational. There is no reasonable excuse for moving toward the governing principles of Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot, so the only option is to attack a debate opponent’s personality, motives, and psychological makeup.

This is why political dialogue has become so unproductive. It’s not because conservatives are unwilling to talk, but rather because liberals have nothing to say.

I didn’t give up on Heidi yet. I patiently explained that a person can be happy with life but nevertheless feel a responsibility to stand up for what’s right, to make the world better, and to resist the efforts of people who promote an evil agenda. Her response was a recommendation that I try Zyprexa.

I Googled it. Zyprexa is a prescription drug used to treat schizophrenia. Nice, eh? She wasn’t done:
As to you tea partiers: many of you don’t even realize that social security and Medicare are government programs that support them in their golden years. As a gay woman in her 50s, I can tell you which group has the corner market on anger and hate, and it isn’t my camp.
Adamant to the end – and a bit bull-headed – I wrote back expressing my doubt that any Tea Partier ever attacked her because of her sexual preference… or even cared about her sexual preference. Then I told her about liberals physically attacking Tea Partiers, Obama’s pastor calling Condoleeza Rice a whore and a slut, illegal immigrant rallies degenerating into vandalism and riots, and New Black Panther members standing in front of a polling place with clubs warning off white people.

That’s when she told me to stop emailing her. Sigh.

It’s all on you now, Larry. You were always my favorite anyway.

From Reno, Nevada, USA

December 20, 2010 - I agree with Domme Yankee that lesbians seem to be a generally unhappy group. Even the jolly ones are only a thin veneer away from the next bitter outburst. (Rosie O'Donnell anyone?) I feel bad for the poor Taliban... now that DADT is repealed, they are about to get attacked by swarms of angry lesbian Marines. Yikes. - Roger W., New York
J.P. replies: If there was a JPAttitude Best-Comment-Of-The-Year award, you just won it.

November 10, 2010 - Ah, Heidi is a 50 something lesbian. That explains everything. As a Mistress in the BDSM world I can say as "Government and God" as my witness that no other group on earth is as intolerant as they are! If you are not a man hating lesbian then you are not worth knowing/talking to/spitting on or even flashing for that matter. I am a bi-sexual (equal opportunity sex deviant, I guess I take it when I can from whom I can animals excluded) and know that most lesbians (I have a few lesbian friends who shake their heads at the angry dikes of the world, they basically give lesbians a bad name) can't tolerant anyone different from themselves. And they are the ones carrying the "Promote Tolerance" flag. Whatever.. I can tolerant anyone who can add 2 plus 2 and come up with 4. But lesbians, I find them narrow minded, ignorant, self absorbed, intolerant to a fault and basically expecting everyone to kneel to their demands or face verbal abuse. Like I said, whatever... Just saying... - Domme Yankee, Connecticut

November 8, 2010 - It would be interesting to read a guest post by Heidi. Come on Heidi! - Samantha, Michigan
J.P. replies: I don't think Heidi visits the website anymore.

November 8, 2010 - Trying to think of one time my friend from college changed his mind because of any (rational) argument I made. Okay, religion. ...But that's not rational. Everything else is unchanged. Can't get rid of you because it's like taking a ride in a time machine. Atlas, ever squatting. BFF - "The" Larry, New York
J.P. replies: Hopefully you haven't forgotten the argument over Israel I managed to start between you and Fred every time you tried to study. You changed my mind on that. (So there. Take that and put it in your pipe and smoke it.) It was 1972 and I came to Ann Arbor full of the mainstream media's pro-Israel party line on the subject, and you convinced me there was another side to the story. Now here we are 38 years later and the mainstream media's party line is pro-Palestinian. I should find Fred and offer him a rematch.

November 7, 2010 - Great article! I've been through this exact same scenario with several liberal (former) friends! I have a childhood buddy of 40 yrs that has become a diehard liberal (he's a teacher that has the MEA to wipe his butt for him), who lives Obamamania. I had to let go of that friendship, because politics has come before everything else. He's lost many other friends as well because of his liberalism. It's painful. - Todd L., Michigan

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