Obama: Can Old Friendships Survive His Divisive Presidency?
PJ Advice columnist Belladonna Rogers on whether a friendship forged decades ago can endure the ultra-partisan Age of Obama.
November 29, 2011 - 12:02 am
(2) You can make the plane reservations without discussing your differences and, once there, try to direct the conversation toward non-Obama-related topics. From what you say, that will be difficult if not impossible, but you could say, “I really wanted to be with you and your husband, but I’m tired of politics and would love to talk about anything else.”
If it isn’t possible to steer away from her favorite topic, then say, “Jane, I’ve never wanted to argue with you over this, and I don’t intend to now, but we don’t see eye to eye politically. I’ve traveled across the country to be with you and don’t want our differing views to interfere. Let’s agree to disagree.”
This will doubtless cast a pall, but if you say you don’t want to argue, and then don’t, you can change the subject.
(3) You can visit her and apply the skunk analogy I discussed last week. Tell yourself, “I knew this was coming. It’s part of who Jane is, and I’ll do my best to think of something else while she’s venting over the ‘clowns’ and praising her idol. I didn’t come here to argue.”
Try to hear her praise of Obama as akin to the hum of the plane’s engine: it’s what makes her run. You don’t have to agree or engage, but merely to be there for her.
(4) If (3) is impossible because of your high blood pressure and the fact that you can’t sit there and not hear her, then don’t go. The Golden Rule doesn’t demand that we punish ourselves while doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. It doesn’t command us to wear a hair shirt.
If you don’t go, don’t beat yourself up. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to stay as healthy as possible. Subjecting yourself to a nonstop barrage of Obamamania won’t help accomplish this goal. You can continue to be supportive to Jane by phone and email without staying under her roof. A truthful reason to give Jane is your own health: your hypertension has made long plane trips imprudent. The inevitable turbulence can cause a sudden spike in your blood pressure, placing you at grave risk.
I recommend (4): it isn’t solely Jane’s continued idolatry of Obama but also the intensity of her proselytizing and her intolerance of your views that makes this proposed visit inadvisable given your blood pressure.
Even if your blood pressure were naturally low, life is short and best spent among the tolerant.
– Belladonna Rogers
Do you have questions? Belladonna Rogers has answers. Send your questions or comments about politics, personal or cultural matters, or anything else that’s on your mind, and Belladonna will answer as many as possible. The names, geographic locations and email addresses of all advice-seekers will be kept confidential. Names and places and will be changed to protect the identity of the questioner. Send your questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org