Finding Out Who My Friends Are…

 

On the whole, I enjoyed college. I enjoyed football, I enjoyed track, and I enjoyed girls. I tolerated bookwork. I excelled at the first three, but struggled with the fourth. I would study in six- or eight-minute segments, for 14 hours at a time, because I hated it so much. But despite my difficulties with focus and memorization, I persevered and did well enough to get my Caucasian butt into medical school. So it all worked out.

Medical school was much worse. No football, no track, no girls. Only lots and lots of bookwork. It was absolutely horrible. I survived, but it was a miserable four years. Because I was so unhappy during that period of my life, I haven’t really kept in touch with any of my friends from that time. I don’t have a lot of doctor friends now, either, come to think of it. Doctors are sort of a weird group. They’re not all normal like me. But anyway, I haven’t kept in touch with my medical school friends as I should have.

After 25 years, I finally decided to reach out to one of my friends from that time. He included me in a running group text with me and him and a half dozen other classmates from my med school class. They text back and forth about football scores and funny memes and such. Nothing of any significance – just fun stuff – which was fine with me. And then one of them texted the following Tweet:

Another one of my friends responded with three laughing emojis. How clever!

I knew that I was probably the only conservative in the group. They were all leftists in school like they’re supposed to be. And I presumed that they all wanted to be perceived as open-minded and deep thinkers, so they would avoid any appearances of independent thought. They instinctively understand the Bernie Sanders rule of philosophy – the surest way to demonstrate original thinking is to never have an original thought during your entire life. And if you do, you never publicly admit it.

So I should probably let this slide, right?

Then, I thought, well, they haven’t spoken to me for 25 years. Who cares about the next 25? Right? So I responded to the Texas Tweet:

I suspect that the governors of Texas and California will be splitting the cost of putting that Tweet on billboards all over California, so that any Californians who have not yet moved to Texas might consider staying in California.

Worth a try. But it probably won’t work.

There was so much chatter on this group text for the past couple of weeks, I had to turn off the sound notifications because it was keeping me up at night. Now I haven’t gotten a new text in three days. I texted some stuff today about the Ohio State game, with no reply from anybody.

If my point is so wrong, you would think that all these smart guys would be jumping at the opportunity to explain to me what an idiot I am. But they didn’t even try. They just black-balled me.

Which I figured they might. And I guess I just didn’t care. They’re probably enjoying themselves more without my input. Which is fine by me. But not for them, if you think about it.

America has changed. Americans have changed. We choose a tribe, and our perceived value to society is determined not by our value to society, but rather by our loyalty to whatever tribe we chose. Friendship doesn’t matter. Our shared love of America doesn’t matter. Tolerance and empathy don’t matter. Only loyalty to whatever tribe you chose matters. Regardless of how dysfunctional your tribe is. Nothing else matters.

So you can’t be friends with anybody if you disagree with them about anything. What an empty existence it must be when you intentionally abandon everything that makes you human.

There is a reason that our society feels so foreign, and our politics seem so dysfunctional. America seems different. I miss it. I miss it a lot.

I miss my friends, too. But not as much. They chose their tribe. I chose them, but it didn’t matter. So I won’t lose any sleep over it.

But geez. I miss America. I really do…

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  1. Kephalithos Member
    Kephalithos
    @Kephalithos

    See, I’m young enough to have been spared awkward fallings-out over politics. I don’t even bother getting close to people saturated in the woke worldview. If I don’t trust you, I keep you at arm’s length. You’ll hear nothing about politics from me, nor I from you (I hope). We can have a good working relationship, but nothing more. You wouldn’t want anything more. Trust me.

    Is this a tragedy? Maybe. But we live in 2021.

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The California state flag has a single star on it too. And it’s red.

    • #2
  3. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    You hit the nail on the head – Yet again!

    There have been quite few posts and comments recently about this polarization and tribalism.  @marcin shared how the vaxxed HATE the unvaxxed.  @annefy shared how her acquaintance HATED all deplorable Trump supporters.  

    There is no middle ground, there are no debates. There is Black and White, no grey , no discussion.  If you are on the left, all must agree, if not you are condemned. I think we on the right would like to debate, and consider alternatives, but we too, under the hammer of condemnation, are reflexively hardening our attempts at consideration and civility.

    Your picture of the Blue and Grey sharing a seat doesn’t seem possible anymore. 

    I miss that America too. 

     

    • #3
  4. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    I don’t cut off my leftie friends and relatives, but I sure don’t ever mention politics to them.  They unfortunately don’t do the same, so in some cases I limit my contact to avoid problems.  I live in very heavily Republican area; in the last election both my county and precinct went 76 percent for Trump. I have to say that although I’m glad they vote red, I know plenty of people who sadly are just as obnoxious as your leftie acquaintances but in the opposite direction.  

    • #4
  5. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Nohaaj (View Comment):
    Your picture of the Blue and Grey sharing a seat doesn’t seem possible anymore.

    You probably recognize that picture.

    But for those that don’t, that is General Custer with an old friend of his from West Point, now fighting for the Confederacy, whom he had captured in a recent battle in the Civil War.  They remained friends, despite their serious disagreements about a lot of very important things.

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Dr. Bastiat: They instinctively understand the Bernie Sanders rule of philosophy – the surest way to demonstrate original thinking is to never have an original thought during your entire life.  And if you do, you never publicly admit it.

    I’ll bet that’s it!

    • #6
  7. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Dr. Bastiat: We choose a tribe, and our perceived value to society is determined not by our value to society, but rather by our loyalty to whatever tribe we chose.  Friendship doesn’t matter.  Our shared love of America doesn’t matter.  Tolerance and empathy don’t matter.  Only loyalty to whatever tribe you chose matters.  Regardless of how dysfunctional your tribe is.  Nothing else matters.

    What an empty existence it must be, when you intentionally abandon everything that makes you human.

    Yes it must be.  Lots of people do it, though.  Judging from observable results, most of them are pretty miserable in their new lives.

    • #7
  8. Clavius Thatcher
    Clavius
    @Clavius

    I probably shocked my brother with my opinions this summer.  He is conservative but also works in administration at a major middle-of-the-country university.  Let’s just say I’ve moved a bit farther right.  

    But we are OK.  Although I admit I did worry.

    And no, not all Californian’s are looney lefties.  There is at least me and Gary and DJango and TRN and Balzer and others who are still here.

    • #8
  9. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    I post whatever I want on Facebook. If people don’t like it, they can block me. It isn’t our fault. We are what worked. The left are the ones who changed the culture and the country. We shouldn’t apologize for partisanship. Just look them in the eye and tell them they fundamentally changed the country and to enjoy their change.

    • #9
  10. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    This afternoon, I watched The Undefeated (1969) with John Wayne as a Union officer, Col. John Henry Thomas and Rock Hudson as a Confederate officer, Col. James Langdon.  There is a scene where Langdon is getting a bit hot under the collar talking to Thomas about the war that is now over.  There’s a Confederate sergeant standing in the background as the exchange is getting a little tense.  About that time Langdon hollers, “sergeant!” and the sergeant responds, “yes sir!” as he pulls a flask of whiskey from his inside jacket pocket, hands it to Langdon who hands it to Thomas who takes a drink as Langdon says, “if I can find the time I’m going to sit down and write the social history of bourbon,” and then he takes a drink before they continue their chat. 

    In the same movie Blue Boy (Roman Gabriel), the adopted Native American son of Thomas falls for Charlotte (Melissa Newman) the daughter of Langdon and she for him. 

    The solution is love and bourbon, which if you consider for a moment, neither has to do with much thinking. 

    This link is cued up to the love and the bourbon or if you wanna watch the whole movie, it’s a freebie on YouTube. 

    https://youtu.be/JWZV5x4WAXs?t=2735

    • #10
  11. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Dr. Bastiat: Our shared love of America doesn’t matter. 

    Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure about “sharing” love of America. I think if you got an honest answer out of our lefty friends, it would be that they “love” what America might become, if their people are ruling over it. They don’t love what America is so much. How could they? How could they love something founded on slavery and still inequitable, patriarchal, and fundamentally racist? 

    • #11
  12. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Dr. Bastiat: They’re not all normal like me.

    Wait, who is writing this?

    • #12
  13. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Dr. Bastiat: If my point is so wrong, you would think that all these smart guys would be jumping at the opportunity to explain to me what an idiot I am.  But they didn’t even try.  They just black-balled me.

    Too bad you didn’t get to hit them first with the “California’s flag has one star too, and it’s red.”

    • #13
  14. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Dr. Bastiat: I persevered, and did well enough to get my Caucasian butt into medical school

    Doc, we are about the same age, so this comment struck me.  When I was in college, I recall POC who abused the system of Affirmative Action to – shall I say – pretend to be in classes, so they could receive stipends and benefits of claiming they were university students.  But to my recollection, none of them ever enrolled in challenging classes.

    So your comment… is this just whiplash from the persistent White privilege accusations that rain down on anyone who might resemble being White and moderately successful, or did you experience reverse discrimination in Med School?  With the implication being that some might have graduated without the full requisite skills and knowledge base required because they were granted dispensations because of their ethnic non-white background? 

     

    • #14
  15. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Nohaaj (View Comment):
    So your comment… is this just whiplash from the persistent White privilege accusations that rain down on anyone who might resemble being White and moderately successful, or did you experience reverse discrimination in Med School?  With the implication being that some might have graduated without the full requisite skills and knowledge base required because they were granted dispensations because of their ethnic non-white background? 

    The Bakke case was 1978.

    • #15
  16. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    One of the most depressing days in my life was not quite a year ago.  My brother, whose wife was a Hillary fan back in 1992 and since, has been getting more and more radically left over the decades.  I definitely couldn’t talk with his wife about anything other than the weather or the merits of a restaurant or other food.  I remember in the late 1990’s I described George H. W. Bush as an extreme socialist.  Her response, “No alone time for Uncle Skyler” with the niece and nephew.  I laughed it off as a joke, but we all knew it wasn’t a joke.

    Despite that, my brother has always been my best friend and we often talked on the phone and even talked about politics, agreeing to disagree but always being friends. 

    That ended last October.  As he kept insisting that BLM is peaceful and that Antifa isn’t real, he got angrier and angrier.  Then he hung up.  He and his (now adult) kids unfriended me on social media and I’ve not heard from him since.

    We were always very close and now because he has been steeped in communist propaganda and communist ideology we’re done as a family.  

    The polarization of our nation is worse than ever.  It’s not like the Civil War which was largely, though not entirely, geographical.  We are headed for a rupture that will be more like the Spanish Civil War than it will be like our last Civil War.  It will be personal and ugly.  I don’t know how we will avoid it.

    I’m just glad to have escaped from Austin because it is turning into Portland and come the end they’ll be the ones in charge there for a while.

    • #16
  17. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Skyler (View Comment):
    That ended last October.  As he kept insisting that BLM is peaceful and that Antifa isn’t real, he got angrier and angrier.  Then he hung up.  He and his (now adult) kids unfriended me on social media and I’ve not heard from him since.

    Very unhappy to hear about this sort of thing.

    • #17
  18. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Skyler (View Comment):
    We were always very close and now because he has been steeped in communist propaganda and communist ideology we’re done as a family.  

    I think that breaking up families is one of the stated goals of communism, including/especially BLM.

    • #18
  19. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    My daughter called me one night her junior year at the University of Vermont. She was in tears. She had mentioned to her friends that she liked George H. W. Bush very much. They said some very nasty things to her in response. It really hurt. She said, “Mom, they know me so well. Why don’t they think more of Republicans because they know me and they know now that I’m a Republican?”

    In other words, why didn’t knowing her as well as they did, liking her and respecting her, change their opinion of Republicans? Instead, they despised Republicans so much that as soon as they knew she was one, they despised her too.

    I don’t understand it at all. I was always taught that Christians spread Christianity by what they did, not what they said. It should work like that for Republicans.

    • #19
  20. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    MarciN (View Comment):

    My daughter called me one night her junior year at the University of Vermont. She was in tears. She had mentioned to her friends that she liked George H. W. Bush very much. They said some very nasty things to her in response. It really hurt. She said, “Mom, they know me so well. Why don’t they think more of Republicans because they know me and they know now that I’m a Republican?”

    If they could think, they wouldn’t be leftists.

    • #20
  21. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    kedavis (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    My daughter called me one night her junior year at the University of Vermont. She was in tears. She had mentioned to her friends that she liked George H. W. Bush very much. They said some very nasty things to her in response. It really hurt. She said, “Mom, they know me so well. Why don’t they think more of Republicans because they know me and they know now that I’m a Republican?”

    If they could think, they wouldn’t be leftists.

    I have to agree with this. It’s sad. They are missing out on some of the richness of life, which is getting to know all kinds of people.

    • #21
  22. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Skyler (View Comment):

    One of the most depressing days in my life was not quite a year ago. My brother, whose wife was a Hillary fan back in 1992 and since, has been getting more and more radically left over the decades. I definitely couldn’t talk with his wife about anything other than the weather or the merits of a restaurant or other food. I remember in the late 1990’s I described George H. W. Bush as an extreme socialist. Her response, “No alone time for Uncle Skyler” with the niece and nephew. I laughed it off as a joke, but we all knew it wasn’t a joke.

    Despite that, my brother has always been my best friend and we often talked on the phone and even talked about politics, agreeing to disagree but always being friends.

    That ended last October. As he kept insisting that BLM is peaceful and that Antifa isn’t real, he got angrier and angrier. Then he hung up. He and his (now adult) kids unfriended me on social media and I’ve not heard from him since.

    We were always very close and now because he has been steeped in communist propaganda and communist ideology we’re done as a family.

    The polarization of our nation is worse than ever. It’s not like the Civil War which was largely, though not entirely, geographical. We are headed for a rupture that will be more like the Spanish Civil War than it will be like our last Civil War. It will be personal and ugly. I don’t know how we will avoid it.

    I’m just glad to have escaped from Austin because it is turning into Portland and come the end they’ll be the ones in charge there for a while.

    I don’t mean this to be funny.  There’s nothing funny about this.  But do you think your brother actually thought the reporter was right when he characterized the burning town behind him as “mostly peaceful protests”?

    • #22
  23. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I don’t mean this to be funny. There’s nothing funny about this. But do you think your brother actually thought the reporter was right when he characterized the burning town behind him as “mostly peaceful protests”?

    Yes, he did.  Antifa is not real.  It’s in our imagination.  I’m not kidding.  Those were his words.  Those riots didn’t happen, they were imagined.

    When I pointed to the BLM incident where BLM went into a restaurant very near to his own home and tried to force people to raise their fists in support, that wasn’t really BLM, you see.  Because everyone knows that BLM is peaceful and many of the people acting up at that restaurant were white, and white people cannot be part of BLM.  White people can only stand aside respectfully when BLM terrorizes people, because we must allow them to lead their own movement.  And besides, why wouldn’t those diners raise their fists to show support for ending their own white racist past?

    We cannot reason with such people.  They have become monsters justifying terrorism and racism so long as it is in service of showing that they are fundamentally flawed as white people.  It’s a perversion of Christian belief of self-sacrifice.  If they do penance, and force others to do penance for the sins of history then they are more welcomed into a state of grace.

    It’s sick.

    • #23
  24. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    One of the most depressing days in my life was not quite a year ago. My brother, whose wife was a Hillary fan back in 1992 and since, has been getting more and more radically left over the decades. I definitely couldn’t talk with his wife about anything other than the weather or the merits of a restaurant or other food. I remember in the late 1990’s I described George H. W. Bush as an extreme socialist. Her response, “No alone time for Uncle Skyler” with the niece and nephew. I laughed it off as a joke, but we all knew it wasn’t a joke.

    Despite that, my brother has always been my best friend and we often talked on the phone and even talked about politics, agreeing to disagree but always being friends.

    That ended last October. As he kept insisting that BLM is peaceful and that Antifa isn’t real, he got angrier and angrier. Then he hung up. He and his (now adult) kids unfriended me on social media and I’ve not heard from him since.

    We were always very close and now because he has been steeped in communist propaganda and communist ideology we’re done as a family.

    The polarization of our nation is worse than ever. It’s not like the Civil War which was largely, though not entirely, geographical. We are headed for a rupture that will be more like the Spanish Civil War than it will be like our last Civil War. It will be personal and ugly. I don’t know how we will avoid it.

    I’m just glad to have escaped from Austin because it is turning into Portland and come the end they’ll be the ones in charge there for a while.

    I don’t mean this to be funny. There’s nothing funny about this. But do you think your brother actually thought the reporter was right when he characterized the burning town behind him as “mostly peaceful protests”?

    Like Baghdad Bob?

    • #24
  25. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I don’t mean this to be funny. There’s nothing funny about this. But do you think your brother actually thought the reporter was right when he characterized the burning town behind him as “mostly peaceful protests”?

    Yes, he did. Antifa is not real. It’s in our imagination. I’m not kidding. Those were his words. Those riots didn’t happen, they were imagined.

    When I pointed to the BLM incident where BLM went into a restaurant very near to his own home and tried to force people to raise their fists in support, that wasn’t really BLM, you see. Because everyone knows that BLM is peaceful and many of the people acting up at that restaurant were white, and white people cannot be part of BLM. White people can only stand aside respectfully when BLM terrorizes people, because we must allow them to lead their own movement. And besides, why wouldn’t those diners raise their fists to show support for ending their own white racist past?

    We cannot reason with such people. They have become monsters justifying terrorism and racism so long as it is in service of showing that they are fundamentally flawed as white people. It’s a perversion of Christian belief of self-sacrifice. If they do penance, and force others to do penance for the sins of history then they are more welcomed into a state of grace.

    It’s sick.

    Sounds like “muslims” who say that the hijackings and pilots crashing their own planes into the ocean etc, aren’t really muslims, because true muslims wouldn’t do that.

    • #25
  26. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    MarciN (View Comment):

    My daughter called me one night her junior year at the University of Vermont. She was in tears. She had mentioned to her friends that she liked George H. W. Bush very much. They said some very nasty things to her in response. It really hurt. She said, “Mom, they know me so well. Why don’t they think more of Republicans because they know me and they know now that I’m a Republican?”

    In other words, why didn’t knowing her as well as they did, liking her and respecting her, change their opinion of Republicans? Instead, they despised Republicans so much that as soon as they knew she was one, they despised her too.

    I don’t understand it at all. I was always taught that Christians spread Christianity by what they did, not what they said. It should work like that for Republicans.

    I’ve had this problem several times, with a niece and a nephew. A then college-aged niece jumped in on a FB post and I tried to make a point, and did it a bit inelegantly. She called her mom crying, interpreting it in the worst possible way. And her mom obviously took her side.

    No matter how much I apologized for my inelegant phrasing, but not for my point, the more my sister circled back to the bad phrasing. It went on for hours – I kept saying, what’s the point of knowing someone your entire life if every phrase is interpreted in a vacuum? When you listen to someone, and respond to them, you need to hear it in their voice, and interpret it coming from that person.

    You know whether a person is good or bad, or racist or not. Generous or not. These were two people who I helped during their darkest hours (and they were dark indeed) whose opinion of me flipped immediately.

    Everything got mostly patched up, but I can’t imagine ever having a conversation with either of them regarding anything of any depth or substance.

    It seems like relationships are now interpreted like history. There’s only here and now. No context needed or required.

    • #26
  27. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    You hit the nail on the head – Yet again!

    There have been quite few posts and comments recently about this polarization and tribalism. @ marcin shared how the vaxxed HATE the unvaxxed. @ annefy shared how her acquaintance HATED all deplorable Trump supporters.

    There is no middle ground, there are no debates. There is Black and White, no grey , no discussion. If you are on the left, all must agree, if not you are condemned. I think we on the right would like to debate, and consider alternatives, but we too, under the hammer of condemnation, are reflexively hardening our attempts at consideration and civility.

    Your picture of the Blue and Grey sharing a seat doesn’t seem possible anymore.

    I miss that America too.

     

    I’m actually surprised how much this has bothered me, as the vitriolic email came from someone who is not known for her tact. She has said some unbelievably offensive things to me, and so many others, over our 20 + year long friendship.

    I always fancied that I had caused she and her lefty husband cognitive dissonance, in that I challenged all their silly assumptions and they couldn’t take the easy way out of assuming people who vote like me are all stupid, racist, blah blah blah.

    Turns out, after everything we’ve been through, she just hates my guts.

    • #27
  28. HankRhody Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    Hold on a minute; step back from politics. The state of Texas begs to be made fun of. 

    A blind man gets off a plane in a Texas airport, sits down at a bar, and orders a beer. He gets back a mug so large he needs both hands to lift it. “I just ordered a drink” he says. “Everything’s bigger in Texas” says the bartender. The blind man orders a burger, and gets back a construction that’s a meal and a half. “Everything’s bigger in Texas” says the bartender. “Which way to the bathroom?” Asks the blind man. “Just down the hall, hang a left.” The blind man goes down the hall, hangs a right, and falls into the swimming pool. Gasping for air he shouts “DON’T FLUSH!”

    If all you had was a joke about Texas without a context of dark musings about the superiority of California or the Texas abortion law or such, then I think all you’re doing is stomping on a joke.

    • #28
  29. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    I have had many of these types of experiences, and they are never nice.  But I have also had/have progressive friends.  After all, I work in education.  Some of them even like to talk about politics, and we can.  Mostly.    

    From your description though, your group of doctors were never actually friends.  They were acquaintances with whom you shared an experience a long time ago. 

    I think the story of a brother not talking to a brother, which is in the comments, is a much, much sadder story.    

    I’m afraid that’s too common today.  

    • #29
  30. Tedley Member
    Tedley
    @Tedley

    EHerring (View Comment):

    I post whatever I want on Facebook. If people don’t like it, they can block me. It isn’t our fault. We are what worked. The left are the ones who changed the culture and the country. We shouldn’t apologize for partisanship. Just look them in the eye and tell them they fundamentally changed the country and to enjoy their change.

    @eherring, this is so true, progressives have been pushing to change society for many decades.  Even though many progressive priorities have become insane (such as all whites are racist, or men can become women or vice versa), there’s little push back or apparent realization amongst polite society of how utterly vacuous they are.  I have to wonder whether normal people actually accept them, or facially say they concur to avoid being outed and ostracized.  They wouldn’t want to be considered Republicans or conservatives, because the leftists in mainstream media have demonized Republicans for so long that it’s easy for low-information types to just unthinkingly accept it as fact.  

    • #30