Recently, I've been having a conversation with a friend who is the polar opposite of me politically. I don't like mixing politics with friendship. I discovered that the politics of people I like can fall very far from where I stand. I tend to believe that my friends (and relations) want what they think is best for the world in general. They are generous people, smart, funny, loyal - everything that friends should be. So I ignore the fact they would think I'm out of my political mind if they knew. And perhaps they do know, I am pretty transparent after all, and I assume they feel the same way as I do. It's not necessary to share political ideals to like a person.
Don't get me wrong, I also have friends who are on the same political wavelength as myself. I'm glad to have those friends and relations stand beside me. They help me to remember I'm not that far out there. That I'm not alone in my beliefs. It's sort of like religion, it's okay not to be in the majority as long as there are a few folk around to confirm I'm not out of my ever-loving mind!
So how did I get involved in a conversation on political leaning? I've been asking myself that same question. I think I fell for the old you're-not-as-far-out-there-as-you-claim gambit. So I had to set about proving that I am. And really that wouldn't be so bad if I was good at stating my point. But I'm not. I get caught up in the "I'm being attacked" mindset. I make the mistake of taking it personally. Basically, I'm easy prey.
The same friend I got into this conversation with has classified me as a feeling person who happens to think. He classifies himself as a thinking person who happens to feel. Perhaps he's right. I believe things because I "feel" that they are right. I haven't thought out the logic - although other thinkers who have the same leanings as I do have logical reasons for what we believe. I could do the research, and have done in the past, but not to arm myself for a conversation with a friend.
I've never considered it necessary to load up on amo before accepting a friendly invitation to debate. And perhaps that's my problem. Any high school debate team member would tell you that you can't win if you don't know both sides inside out. You have to be able to argue your opponent's side even better than they can. But not me. I walked into an Obama vs. McCain without a moments thought.
And what horrible thing happened? Nothing much. My friend may now realize I'm as out there as I claim. He has no reason to re-evaluate his own stance, because I couldn't give him any logical reason to do so. And it's doubtful any re-evaluating would have happened anyway. So no harm no foul. Right?
So why am I left feeling so… what? Misunderstood? Frustrated at my inability to communicate that which I believe deeply in? Yes, both of those. And more. I'm left with an uneasy feeling that I've done something wrong. Should I apologize to my friend? For what? Disagreeing with him politically? That's where we started. For taking our "conversation" personally? Surely he knows me well enough to know that I would take it personally. For letting him talk me into a debate that I was unprepared for?
So this is why I don't talk politics with my friends. When all is said and done, I'm ill equipped for the consequences. I'm left feeling uneasy and not really knowing where our friendship stands.