Monday, August 8, 2011

A Year of Gratitude - Day Fifty-six

Day 56 - Respectful Disagreement
I had an interesting experience.  I asked a friend how he was doing; I said, “How are you, my friend?”  
“Just OK?”
“I’m surprised you’re even calling me your friend.”
(Whoa....  Where did that come from?)  It turns out he took issue with my political views as indicated by the articles I had recently posted on Facebook.  I admit I was surprised to find out he was Republican (I think he is the only artist I know who is), but that wasn’t what surprised me the most.  I was taken aback by the idea that just because I didn’t like the brinkmanship demonstrated the Tea Partiers in Congress, and have made my feelings clear about them, I might include him in with them.
First, he’s not in Congress.  Second, I don’t discard my friendships because we have opposite views of a given subject.  While I might agree with certain columnists’ descriptions of the ideological extremists that are forcing their narrow views onto our government’s actions, I don’t automatically describe all fiscal conservatives the same way.  Some are actually rational.
What made me feel good about the whole conversation that ensued was the fact that we could disagree and discuss without shouting, name-calling, or otherwise shutting down the other person.  If anything, I think the friendship was strengthened (at least one can hope).  He treated me with respect, and I reciprocated.  I was glad we could disagree without being disagreeable.  I only wish our representatives in government could do as well.

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