A Political Divide

As regular readers of my blog will know, my political beliefs are very left-wing. That’s not to say I’m a huge advocate of any particular political party or person, I just see my political beliefs as an extension of how I think it’s right to treat people e.g. welcoming everybody and doing what I can to help others. At the same time, I’m also pretty laid back and am able to befriend quite a range of people – lots of friends sit at different points across the political spectrum and I have friends in various religions too. These differences of belief don’t bother me too much, because I know that these are mostly good people who want the best for everyone and I see negative political opinions as merely them being misguided. Plus, I find it’s useful to understand why people believe different things.

I see a lot of posts online about people saying that it’s wrong to be friends with people with ‘bad’ political views and I can certainly understand this – especially when the views they’re talking about include the oppression or erasure of certain groups. While I wouldn’t fault anybody for deciding they don’t want this kind of thing in their life, I also don’t think it’s necessarily the most productive thing to do – after all, it would just mean that both of you will become more insular with the belief sets that you come into contact with and in my opinion, you can lead by example – people are more likely to come around to your way of thinking if you continue to be an influence in their lives, but just cutting somebody off may even make them demonise you.

I had a rather sad experience on this front, where a few years ago somebody came to me in the hopes that they could be included in social events that I liked to arrange. They wanted to feel a part of a circle of friends. Of course, I was happy to help – I included them as much as possible and was happy to have the opportunity to consolidate a friendship. Over time, I found them posting more and more right-wing political content and disagreeing with things that I posted (and not in the form of a healthy discourse, but just by being derisive or mocking). Still, I looked past it and continued to reach out to them and include them – until eventually I realised that they had deleted me as a friend and they’d done the same to all other friends who ever post anything with a left-leaning perspective. I reached out to them, asking whether they still wanted me to include them in the events that I organised and was told, bluntly, no. It’s very disappointing. I can’t imagine wanting to make your life more insular like that. Frankly, it seems very unhealthy – I can only hope they don’t send themselves down a rabbit hole by creating a complete echo chamber…

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