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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Four days after the election, my friend and fellow opinion writer, Maura Casey, asked me to post a question for a discussion on Facebook after she’d had troubling encounters with two of her conservative friends.

“I think we have to have a rational conversation about politics,” she wrote in an email. “I’m not looking forward to it, but silence isn’t working for me anymore.

“I really cherish having conservative friends because I think we all need to dip our toes in views that we don’t agree with and try to see things — even in passing — the way they do. It helps keep the conversation going and keep us from dehumanizing each other. But I’d like to hear from your other Facebook friends who have people in their lives that they disagree with politically. How do they stay friends? How do they manage the relationship?”

Her timing was impeccable. The day before, my husband and I were on the receiving end of an out-of-state relative’s post-election email about President Obama. In our view, it was indisputably racist. When we said so, he was astonished. He thought he was showing a sense of humor after his guy had lost. What was wrong with us, he wanted to know.

We all but hyperventilated. How could he have thought that was funny? How could he not see that it was offensive? Would he have felt comfortable sending that email to an African American friend? Does he even have any African-American friends?

We threw up our hands and kept all those questions to ourselves. We don’t see him often, but the man is family. We couldn’t see how to push back further without alienating him, and other relatives in the email chain who, for all we knew, were silent because they thought we were the ones who were insufferable.

I did post Maura’s question on Facebook, and the lively discussion that unfolded made it clear that, when it comes to politics, family can be rough going. That’s true of friends, too, and colleagues we’re forced to work with, day in and day out.

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26 responses to “Navigating The Post-Election Divide”

  1. Mimi2kool says:

    Prior to the election, I knew I could not discuss anything relating to it with my best friend, who is also my housemate. She would become absolutely unhinged any time I would try to point out the BS that was out there about Obama. So I just agreed to disagree. But I still put the bumper sticker on my car in support of Obama/Biden and I took advantage of early voting. As much as I wanted to, I did not crow when Romney was trounced by Obama. She, like her mother, began spouting nonsense about how the country was going to fall apart because he was re-elected. I did not even respond because it would have served no useful purpose. I understand that people who voted for Romney believed in their candidate. The problem for them was that other people who knew about Romney knew more than enough reasons NOT to vote for him. Since the election, there have been some fellow Americans who have become more and more unhinged. They are become even more rabid and vehement in their insistence that the only way the Dems won was by cheating, which is ironic given all the dirty tricks the GOP attempted. I guess that is what happens when you get your view of the world through Faux News.

    • I have a similar situation with a person very close to me. She is convinced that all our problems are the result of Obama’s policies, refuses to consider or discuss what happened before Obama was inaugurated and what was going on 4 years ago, insists the economy is on a free fall, the dollar is going to be devaluated, people should invest in gold before they lose everything as a result of Obama’s policies, Obamacare is socialist evil, the real estate market is on the verge of collapse, unemployment continues to climb at an unprecedented pace, foreclosures and bankruptcies are rampant. By the time she finishes her diatribe you can almost see thousands of Americans dropping dead by the roadside as a result of malnutrition and disease, you are inclined to believe the people that ride their $30 Harleys past your house, those that go on expensive cruises or wait for hours to catch a ride at Disney are just a figment of your imagination.
      Brainwashing is a powerful instrument that has been used for centuries to control the masses. People who reach conclusions based on what they hear on FOX or what Rush tells them, are not interested on facts. The evidence that surrounds them becomes irrelevant and the only thing that matters is what they have been taught to believe. They don’t think, they follow the leader the way sheep do.

      • darkagesbegin says:

        It is so much easier to be told what to believe, and to follow, unthinking, a script handed down to them. Makes life so much easier, and that way you don’t have to puzzle about how contradictory facts fit into your world view.

      • Dol5 says:

        Very well put! Keep it up. Love your attitude!

      • Ed says:

        It also helps to remember that the Brainwashing began 1n 1980. The longer you repeat a lie the more people believe it. Reality does not make any impression.

        • Don B says:

          I agree with you Ed…It did begin in 1980 with St. Ronnie (–bow heads and genuflect). That doddering old fool gave out the credo “greed is good”. Lest we forget, that is when the big fish (large corporate interests) started gobbling up the little fish (medium sized companies) or other large fish in feeding frenzies. For me it got to the point I didn’t know what company owned what other company or who was still in business. Oh yes, and then there were a bunch of CEO’s who had perfectly good companies running them into the ground to make them ripe for take-over. Do we all remember “Golden Parachutes” that they enjoyed when they left their sinking ships? That was the fertile ground that today’s financial fiascos were born into.

  2. nobsartist says:

    I guess it is just too bad for the losers and they are going to have to suck it up. A majority of Americans were horrified to watch what was happening from 2001 to 2008.

    I just wonder why when we were invading other countries, the mantra was “support the troops”. I have not heard any of this since President Obama was elected?

    It looks to me like conservatives are all talk and clueless. And sore losers.

    • commserver says:

      It was ironic that support the troops didn’t extend to the home front. There are many veterans who are in need of help and not getting it.

      The Veterans Department has been cut with the result of reduced services. This includes the hospitals.

      Unemployment is high. I think that a major component of the unemployment are the veterans.

      • Ed says:

        Repubs have no use for vets after they are discharged. They become one of “the takers”

      • Hillbilly says:

        There was a bill introduced in Congress by a Republican to help the veterans more after they return from combat and to help them find jobs when they were discharged. The Republicans voted it down in the House and filibustered it down in the Senate. Their reason for doing this to a bill introduced by a fellow Republican, it would help get President Obama reelected. That shows how much Republicans in Congress feel about our returning troops and former GIs that are looking for work. They don’t give a damn about them, all they cared about was making President Obama a one term President, even if it destroyed this Country and they darn well did. Since President Obama will be a two term President , what tactics are they going to use to win the mid term election. Last midterm they use lack of jobs as a way to win the House and never even worked on anything that had to do with jobs.

    • Canadiangirl57 says:

      Aren’t they though!

    • Ed says:

      They are dangerous creatures who hate our government and want to destroy america! But no one wants to acknowledge that!

    • Hillbilly says:

      They don’t support any thing but their wealth and letting this Country go down the drain.

  3. commserver says:

    The lame duck is just that.

    Unfortunately, those of the extreme right are wounded and are thrashing around in reaction. It is at the state level where they are dangerous.

    It is at the state level where the presidential election was won. It is at the state level where many of the issues will be resolved. That is why there must an effort to coordinate efforts at the grass roots.

    • Ken Duble says:

      While they may succeed in defunding Planned Parenthood — and such an effort was stayed by the court in Texas — abortion is a constitutional right. The right may chip away at its edges, but it can’t be stopped at the state level.

      • Ed says:

        Well, they ate trying. Even threatening to arrwst any federal officer that attempts gto enforce the Obomacare. It is easier to buy elections at the state and local levels than at the national level.

  4. In all fairness, I believe that behind all the attempts to deny the obvious, most Republicans are reflecting on what happened and many are willing to make changes to ensure their party remains a viable opponents in future elections. Whether or not moderate Republicans and pragmatists can marginalize the Tea Party members that contributed to the 2012 electoral debacle remains to be seen. The TP is a force to be reckoned with within the GOP and it is not going to be easy for center-right Republicans to regain control of their party, especially when many are from Southern and Bible Belt states and will be running for re-election 2 years from now. They understand the risks, and it is far from clear that they will have the courage to stand up to the extremism of the most radical wing of the party.
    Needless to say, the TP was not the only contributor to Romney’s defeat. Much of the blame must be placed on the logic of nominating an arrogant elitist out of touch with mainstream America, and whose record was limited to the accumulation of wealth, often at the expense of many, as their candidate. Romney’s persona, his record, his pandering/flip flopping, and his gaffes destroyed his chances of winning.

    • Canadiangirl57 says:

      Dominick, you are so spot on. When they can come to terms with their stupidity, they’ll be able to see things different; however that may not happen in my lifetime.

    • Hillbilly says:

      People like Paul Ryan and cry baby Boehmner(not spelled right) are already saying that President Obama doesn’t have a mandate from the people to rise the taxes on the rich(that includes both of them and at least 3/4 of the Republican members of Congress) and just keep the tax cuts for the middle class and poor because they still have control of the House and they aren’t going to do it. The only reason that Republicans didn’t lose more seats in the House is because of the way Republican controlled states redid voting districts after the 2010 census. This is the first time I can remember seeing a district that did have 8 counties in it in the eastern part of a state go through the middle of the state adding counties ending in the western part of the state adding counties from that part to the district. That is how Republicans kept control of the House and also because all their pre voting and voting fraud hasn’t come to light yet. So long as people like Boehnmer , Paul, Bachmann are part of the Republican party they will never come to terms with their stupidity.

  5. Dol5 says:

    Just being silent all of the time is not the total answer. Being silent some times is OK, but please open your mouth at least once in a while! Other wise they will think you agree with them. Now do you really want that? Some how I do not think you do. And yes, I have the same thing in my family. Also with close friends.

  6. Shrapnel5 says:

    I believe that a number of voters did not trust Romney nor did they think he was the solution to any of the issues, that would actually help this country. His interest was in making him and his backers richer while the average worker got poorer, he showed that when he spoke of the 47% of the population.

  7. Shrapnel5 says:

    @Canadiangirl57: They can not comes terms with their stupidity, becuase they are following the heads of the party who do not believe in common sense and logic.

  8. northroader1775 says:

    Well screw it I’m not shutting up…I am presenting facts to any who will hear and those who don’t …well history has a place for it’s repeaters, I think we can rename it REPUB purgatory.

    I do think it is very important to welcome any repub escapees with open arms …give them shelter and food and information…just like refugees.

    If I was a repub moderate I would switch parties right now. I would be way more likely to win in two years if i were a dem. If McMoron and Grahme cracker keep talking and the teabaggers keep doing stupid stuff and WE THE PEOPLE ARE vigilant and proactive WE can oust the teabaggers all at once, I think switching parties would be an incredibly good move for smart repubs right now.

  9. Hillbilly says:

    We never discuss politics. We sorta have an agreement about that. You don’t put down who I support and I don’t put down who you support, because most of the time we don’t know who others in the family support or don’t support. There is no talking about politics when we have our twice yearly get togethers. period. That was the way our parents wanted it to be before they died and we have continued it that way since they died.

  10. Badger says:

    Stop offering suggestions as to how the Regressives can/must do better. Just let them die off and prove once again that Darwin’s Theory works.

  11. patuxant says:

    Yes, Sheeple is what they are. Almost rabid and irrational. A woman that posts occasionally here sent a message to me tonite saying this which is scary when you can read the venom with which it is written. Also reminds of the old movie “Snakepit”:

    “The way red rag is ruining businesses all over the country, you should hate him too!! He’s a con man who fooled people into voting for him. He is a muslim communist and he is PURPOSELY murdering America. Obama is a fu***** fanatic and he is ONE BIG lie!!

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