I got a message from an old classmate from high school.
We went to high school in Berlin, many of us obviously from different parts of the world, and once we left with our little diplomas, we scattered back to the different corners from which we came. I was so surprised to find that he had contacted me, found me….because he lives about 7 or 8 streets over.
My little heart leapt with this JOYOUS laugh! How incredible it was to have gone to school with someone in Europe 30 years ago, only to find they live just down the road today.
He suggested we go have a beer nearby. I quickly recommended a Biergarten just down the street. We’re now trying to schedule a day to meet up. So, while we figure that out, I went looking through his facebook feed to see what his life has been like, who he is now, versus who he was then.
His entire feed was filled with nothing but anti-Trump messaging. There was nothing that I could see about moments in life, marriages, births, hobbies, what he does for work, where he has been, what he has done. Not even pictures of FOOD. Just this endless stream of “orange man bad.”
I just sat back and sighed, “Oh, no…..”
Now, hear me out. My reaction wasn’t hinged on him being a liberal who hates Trump. It was just the reverse. I thought, “Oh, damn. This man is going to hate me.”
I do not have a problem with liberals being friends. People are too complex to be pigeon holed. But, are you so infected with that much hatred that it’s now the only thing that defines you? Have we stupidly groaned our way to that place where we introduce ourselves with our hatred? We used to have beacons that we brightened, torches in the dark we used to raise, lights in the night that whispered, “I like these things, they make me happy…anyone else?”
So sad to see that the request for like minded contact should now come in the form of this very cold, aggressive growl of tolerance demanding, “I hate these people….anyone else?”
But, that is the place we are at right now. If you’re a Trump supporter, you should be vilified. No questions asked. It doesn’t matter your resume, nor what you’ve accomplished, nor from what low beginnings you came to achieve that accomplishment, you support Trump. You are, as the Speaker of the House said, “An enemy of the state.”
Now, my idea is to just meet, have a beer, discuss old times, then move on with our lives. We won’t talk politics, right? But, with a feed like his I feel it is bound to come up. Because the entire presentation of who he is, based on what he shared about himself, is very likely to be nothing but a hopeful connection with someone who is supposed to feel the same way. And if I don’t hate Trump, and I don’t hate the police, and I don’t hate capitalism, well then….it would be his duty, for the sake of some fashionable hate for this country, to find someone new to cancel: me.
Strange, we have an usual tie in common. We both went to a very small school in Europe. We were witness to one of the most monumental moments in the history of the world’s freedom. Another tyranny had been destroyed….without the first gun being fired. The tyranny of saying the wrong thing, to the wrong person, without fear of your life being destroyed, had been defeated. Everyone was now allowed to speak at will for the first time. They were allowed to read books this political party had “cancelled” (say, banned, don’t try and make it sound heroic), and see films, listen to music, and hear other opinions that were not party approved….
Again, without violence being required to make it happen.
For all I know, he could be back tracking my whole life. And there is someone out there reading this now who might be willing to send me an email saying, “You’re posts are filled with hate!” No, my posts are filled with disagreements. And despite that, my posts are filled with many more fascinating things about myself other than my support for the President. The details of who I am are much more interesting than the broad brush strokes of my interests.
I will agree to meet my old classmate. Of course. But, should the topic of Trump arise, I will not lie about how I feel, and I won’t feel timid about doing so. But, I will not admonish the man for his philosophies, hoping at the same moment the conditioning to hate me will not be switched on.
Because I’m hoping to prove Charles Krauthammer wrong when he beautifully said a conservative will tell a liberal they’re wrong, but a liberal will tell a conservative they’re evil.
So, wish us both luck….
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