Friday, January 20, 2017

Well, It Finally Happened!

               I finally lost a friend over the election. The first that I know of. The first to tell me I'm dead to him. In person and not on social media. And I can't even blame him--it was I who lost my temper and said things that shouldn't be said. (You know how emotional we females can get--I blame it all on menopause and drinking too many Diet Pepsis .)

               And I'm the one who said I would respect each person's individual vote. After all, we all have our own issues, prejudices, and hot buttons. And they drive our votes. As for me, I'm a card-carrying bleeding-heart liberal. I don't mind paying more taxes so others can get the services they need, even if they don't always deserve them. I'll fight to the death to have a competent Secretary of Education of our public schools so the children of the trump voters can have a better education.

               But it's tough. My friend called me a poor sport. Like I just lost at marbles. Actually, where important things like the Washington Redskins are concerned, I admit I'm a pretty poor sport.  But, with lots of practice, over the years I've honed my ability to pretend I'm okay with the Dallas Cowboys claiming they are "America's Team" while the Redskins stay home again from the Big Game.

               But I digress. I tried to explain that, more important than being a good sport, I have real concerns about the competence and experience of trump and his cabinet members.  He waved that off as having less importance than that the Republican party had vanquished Hillary and Obama. Oh, good. The black guy and the woman are gone.

               He's also a bottom-line guy who hates the idea that a business, like the one we work for, would be forced to pay for employees to have basic healthcare due to the Affordable Care Act. Or the idea that the federal government would force its opinion or any type of regimen on anyone. God knows we wouldn't want anyone telling us we had to be a Christian or a heterosexual or eschew birth control or guard ourselves from grizzlies in our public schools.

               But I'm pleading temporary insanity. When he told me that (a) there is no evidence that Congress wants to repeal healthcare coverage for under-26's or for those with preexisting conditions and (b) there is no evidence that Russia was involved in the recent debacle, I felt my precarious hold on mental health starting to fail.  I asked where he was getting his news. When he told me "that's Hillary stuff," I heard a snapping sound from inside my head. Something vital had broken loose.

               When our coworker, sitting with us, naively asked what Congress intended to replace the ACA with, since obviously so many people needed it, he told her not to worry about it, that Congress would handle it. At this point, I flew over the edge of the cuckoo's nest.

               This was not going to work. I had gone into a gunfight armed with a spitball. And it didn't end well. The top of my head blew off and blood and brains spewed out. Metaphorically speaking. When he told me I was dead to him, I think I remember telling him to send it to me in a 140-character Tweet so I'd know it was official.

               The important thing here is that it was my fault. I didn't set out to lose a friend I've worked with for 15 years. I had no intention of making an enemy out of a coworker that I work with daily.  And friends, long-time or new, are nothing to scoff at. I value my friends. I take full blame for what happened.

               But the more I think about it, we really weren't friends. We were coworkers who disagreed violently but politely on most aspects of daily life and culture. We were generally cordial as long as we stuck to topics with no possible religious or political significance. Pictures of cute puppies and grumpy kittycats were possible but only if none of the puppies was sitting too close to another puppy of the same sex.

               My friends and I don't always agree on everything but we agree on the important things--the value of other people, the importance of the environment, the need to be able to trust those to whom we've entrusted the leadership of our country. So I guess he and I weren't really friends. Just work acquaintances.  And I guess that's over.

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