Out of Many, One.

To My Conservative Friends & Family,

If you’re seeing this, it’s because you haven’t unfriended or unfollowed me on Facebook, and for that, I’m grateful.  Throughout this period in our history (one of many, actually) of deep and bitter political division, I have steadfastly refused to unfriend anyone based on our political differences.  A couple of times, regrettably, I have had to because of an individual who became abusive of my friends, family, or me.  Everyone else, I’ve hung in there with, because of a relationship we’ve shared, and because I continue to believe in civil discourse and in the intellectual significance of understanding both sides of an argument.

To be sure, these are perilous waters in which we swim now and I’ve frequently been tempted to–and indeed guilty of–broadly dismissing a whole category of people because of their political ideology. And Facebook has presented us with a strange venue to air and argue our political grievances, one with which I’m not particularly comfortable. These are often earnest discussions that should take place in person, face-to-face, between friends.  It can be too easy to hide behind a written, posted word or thought.  But there you have it, that’s 2020 for you, even more so now that we are all quarantined in our homes.

I’ve certainly lost friends since the wrenching 2016 election and it broke my heart to lose a couple more yesterday during a discussion about when and how we should reopen our economy.  So if you have still hung in there with me, and if you continue to see our commonalities as friends, family, and human beings as more important than our ideological differences, I’m deeply grateful to you.   My relationships are the most significant aspect of my life.  If I were making a list of the Top Ten Things that are important to me (my kids, my family, my faith, my friends, my work as a teacher, my community, my pets, I don’t think that my politics would make the list.  It’s probably somewhere down the list after cold fountain drinks and my VW convertible.) 

Why do we even have the Facebook fights? Does anyone’s mind ever change?  I will never understand your support of Donald Trump any more than you will understand my deep and bitter resentment towards him. Does that mean that this issue has to become more important than our relationship? Or can we peacefully coexist and still appreciate one another while holding onto our differing political beliefs? I have to believe that we can.  I have to believe that we can continue to have lively and yet civil political debates.  Occasionally I’ll have an old high school friend say to me, “I sure disagree with you, Tim, but I still like you and respect you.” And that means all the world to me.

I’d like to offer an olive branch.  I will do my best NOT to question your patriotism nor your Christian faith–if applicable–based on your politics.  And I would ask you to do the same for me. We have each earnestly searched our conscience and our life experiences to come up with our political positions. And I think in order to continue to be a community of Americans, we have to be able to respect that in each other.  We must find a way to keep the “united” in the United States.  Thanks for still being my friends and for reading this.  E Pluribus Unum

Published by timnichols

First and foremost, I’m a dad. After that, by day I am a professor of Education at Alfred University, by night I'm a dog lover, a cancer survivor, and a daydreamer. Here are some thoughts and lessons learned from my journey…

One thought on “Out of Many, One.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: