Monday, March 8, 2010

Keep Your Friends Close … and Your “Friends” in the Trash Bin

Please excuse me while I repost some things from the Word Press site so I can delete it for good.

Previously published 1/21/2010

I can’t tell you how many “friends” of mine have shown their true colors over the past 14 months, since pResident Barack Obama was elected. I suppose it has just as much to do with me becoming more politically vocal by the day through this forum as it does their being appalled at my decision to elect my Constitutional right to speak freely.

What surprises me these days is how quickly people I have known for years … and I am talking back into the 1990s … try to back me into little corners that narrowly describe who I am and what I stand for, the minute any conversation descends, or should I more correctly say, transcends into the realm of politics.

These are people who went through college with me, or worked with me early in my career. They saw me at my poorest, most desperate moments in life, when a box of Ramen noodles was the day’s only meal, when choosing between paying a small credit card balance and the rent was an agonizing but inevitable decision. They also saw me when I had let my guard down, when I was at my most vulnerable – most likely when I was drunk and puking over someone’s porch railing, or when some crazy woman (who, thankfully, did not turn out to be Mrs. ADHD) was raking my devotion over the coals of false love.

These folks I once called my “friends” got to know me through discussions about my past history in the U.S. Army and my divorce early in my ’20s and my more than arduous struggles to find some sort of coherent voice in what passes today for my so-called writing.

And they knew my politics, even back then. Maybe they didn’t know the extent of my passion for the Constitution and the freedoms that have been ripped from the American people, incrementally, since the turn of the 20th Century, but they knew enough about me, even back then, to place me under a narrow category: That guy’s a conservative.

But they let it slide. Maybe because, just once in a while, I could buy a round at the bar, or tell a joke. But what could a 20-something naïve little fool know, at the time, about what would become reality?

I used to think it was a miracle that we could all sit around the familiar bar in a friend’s house, night after night, when collective, and cheap, drunken stupor would devolve from the “high moral platitudes” of the latest Tarantino movie down to “politics,” with me, invariably, being one of the token few who would argue, drunkenly but correctly, of course, the values of conservatism. (I know it’s quite peculiar to read about values and conservatism and drunkenness in the same sentence … but I do have a point, so read on.)

I thought I was lucky; I thought we’d be friends for life.

But as we graduated and moved on and away from that little microcosm of time, into the reality of starting families and careers and finding our niches in the world, I never realized just how far apart most of us were back then.

And now.

I haven’t changed much in the decade plus since I graduated from college (though, it is true, I now prefer a $6 London Pride to a $3.50 Bud Yuck), but since November 2008 some of the people I once called “friends” have, since Dear Zero came to power, defined me as this:

  • A racist
  • A loser who should submit to our socialist overloards
  • A Nazi

Tonight, one of my long-time “friends”called me The Unibomber.

After being painted into such narrow, and untrue, corners, I have to admit, I can stomach only so much of a response, not because I’m embarrassed by what these people who I once thought were my friends think of me now, but because I’m embarrassed that I allowed myself, all these years, to consider such cretins as my friends at all.

My moral? Delete early and often. Only those who will fight beside you are worth calling your friends. The rest aren’t even worth elevating to collateral damage.

And we’ll all know that soon enough.


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