I Thought I Knew My Friends

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Facebook be damned

I look at myself in the mirror every so often and ask myself, “am I different? Did I change for the better or worse?”

I physically changed, there’s no doubt about that but I look inward toward my morals, ethics, and compassion? Am I still a good person? Do I make my children proud of me? Am I a good neighbor? Do I work to make the world a better place?

It devolved into “libtards” and “pull down your pants and I’ll tell you what gender you are” name-calling.

I had to ask myself these questions again because I recently had to unfriend someone I’ve known since grade school. We were good friends and we used to share fantasy novels with each other. We used to play Dungeons and Dragons together. We used to party together. He was even a groomsman at my wedding.

What caused all this? Trump.

Trump revealed him to be a raging MAGA nut. It revealed his love for autocracy, hating trans people, liberals, Mexicans (immigrants), and everything that was wrong with the US today. Everything that I thought was what made America truly great.

He was all about “fucking shit up.”

The straw that broke my back was a discussion on vaccine mandates. It devolved into “libtards” and “pull down your pants and I’ll tell you what gender you are” name-calling.

When it was pointed out how he had no regard for his community or the health and well-being of neighbors he just loved to stick it to the libtards, even after he stated he had Covid19 and recovered — therefore it wasn’t that bad.

How did one of my closest friends from grade school through college turn into such a seething MAGA?

I don’t know. Maybe it was always in him, even at an early age. I could guess but I’m always left with more questions than answers.

He’s not the only one.

In my early 20’s I was an engineering student by day and an anarchist punk rocker by night. Those two were diametrically opposed but I managed to fit into both worlds quite well.

“I was always a conservative, even back then!”

One punk rocker I knew and stayed lazily in contact with was way on the extreme side of anarchism. He was all about “fucking shit up.”

We reconnected years later on Facebook and he seemed to be well, he had started his own record label, gotten married, and had a child.

Little did I know that he had changed, and I didn’t know by how much until President Obama’s re-election night. He posted his displeasure on Facebook about how terrible the country is going to be under a second Obama term.

Another friend of mine posted “keep it classy” and was unfriended. I posted something to the effect that I knew him as always very liberal-minded and what he was posting made no sense to me.

He then replied with “I was always a conservative, even back then!” and promptly unfriended me.

I was stunned.

I did a lot of stupid shit when I was younger and I learned the hard way but I tried to keep an open mind.

I never thought about how persecuted the LGBTQ+ community was until a coworker came out as trans and saw the hate that was hurled at her.

My entire social circle collapsing and I wonder if it’s me.

I never knew how deep racism was when a friend was worried about all the Chinese in this country because all that would need to happen would be to give them all AK-47’s and there would be a million armed Chinese invasion in this country. He then remembered my Chinese partner and made an exception for her.

Where have I seen this before?

© Dr. SeussFile:Seuss cartoon.png — Wikimedia Commons

I have only two really close male friends. I could call them any day and we’d pick up right where we left off. It’s wonderful but one of them is starting to speak in the MAGA rhetoric and I’m scared to death that I will have to unfriend him too.

…is any hope for us?

This just hurts me. I thought I knew my friends but obviously not.

Was I asleep all these years? Was I the one wearing rose-colored shades? Were these problems always here or did my friends succumb to them gradually.

My entire social circle collapsing and I wonder if it’s me.

What the fuck is happening? Where has our compassion gone? Why is “Love Thy Neighbor” only if he or she is white and a Christian?

I take a deep breath and I look out over a changing world and wonder if there is any hope for us? For humanity?

This has been a year of closing chapters in my life. Chapters that can no longer be written because they’re dead ends, and there are so many of my old friends in those chapters.

I’m disappointed.

I thought I knew them, but I guess I never did.

But, I do know this.

I will not change who I am, and I will continue to live the truth. I will continue to believe in science, have compassion for my neighbors, and lead by example. I don’t need people that couldn’t give a shit about others or want to bully other people into compliance.

I don’t need any of that.

What I do want is new friends.

Friends that lead from the heart, even if it’s hard to do.

Friends with open minds.

Friends who seek the truth and follow it to wherever it leads them.

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