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Does Political Ideology Trump Friends? Family?

by: mooncat

Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:37:12 AM CST

Family GatheringCan you spot the Democrats and Republicans in this photo?  I can make an informed guess, because they're my family ... but I also don't give a rat's eyelash, because they're my family!

It's been nearly a week since President Obama was re-elected -- leaving a "shellshocked" Mitt Romney trying to explain his billion dollar failure to wealthy donors.  The election also left many conservative Republicans genuinely shellshocked.  Some have decided to crawl even further into the protective bubble that allowed them to believe they were cruising to victory last Tuesday, cutting off all contact with Democrats, even friends.  Even family. 

Former Ron Paul aide Eric Dondero wrote this last Wednesday:

Starting early this morning, I am going to un-friend every single individual on Facebook who voted for Obama, or I even suspect may have Democrat leanings. I will do the same in person. All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them. They are in short, the enemies of liberty. They deserve nothing less than hatred and utter contempt.

I strongly urge all other libertarians to do the same. Are you married to someone who voted for Obama, have a girlfriend who voted 'O'. Divorce them. Break up with them without haste. Vow not to attend family functions, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas for example, if there will be any family members in attendance who are Democrats.

Do you work for someone who voted for Obama? Quit your job. Co-workers who voted for Obama. Simply don't talk to them in the workplace, unless your boss instructs you too for work-related only purposes. Have clients who voted Democrat? Call them up this morning and tell them to take their business elsewhere.


If I meet a Democrat in my life from here on out, I will shun them immediately. I will spit on the ground in front of them, being careful not to spit in their general direction so that they can't charge me with some stupid little nuisance law. Then I'll tell them in no un-certain terms: "I do not associate with Democrats. You all are communist pigs, and I have nothing but utter disgust for you. Sir/Madam, you are scum of the earth." Then I'll turn and walk the other way.

Dondero's post-election rant has been widely publicized, but I suspect he gave voice to something that's been going on under the radar for quite a while. 

Here in Alabama, in Madison County, I know a woman whose daughter cut her off -- before the election -- because she was voting for Democrats.  The mother is a lifelong Democrat, the daughter married a strong Republican and the relationship got chillier and chillier as the election approached.  Finally, the daughter informed her mom that I don't want anything to do with you if you're voting for Obama.  And called her mom some hurtful names in the bargain.  She's stuck with it, too.  She won't talk to her mom, won't answer her phone calls, won't answer the door if she comes over.  Mom still babysits the grandkids, but the daughter and son-in-law won't call to ask her to keep them, they get one of the kids to pick up the phone and ask if they can stay at grandma's house.

Ridiculous, yeah, but it's not an isolated case.

Before the election, This American Life did an extremely disturbing show on the political divide that is splitting friendships and even family relationships.  They talked to a couple of guys who have been friends for decades, until one of them admitted he voted for Obama, and a pair of sisters who -- since Obama was elected -- can't talk to each other without yelling.  And then there was this creative attempt by Ryan to blackmail his brother-in-law, Drew, into supporting the right political candidate:

Drew: If you vote for Obama, you're cut off. You can still come over to our house and eat, but when I cook ribs, you can bring your own chicken breast and use the grill after I'm done. And at first I thought he was just kidding around, but he's made it clear that he's absolutely serious. And I appealed to his wife, and she said, well, I got to stand with my husband.


Ryan: I know he loves my barbecue so much. And I was thinking one day. You know, I've tried to explain to Drew why he shouldn't vote Democratic, but I can't get through to him. So now I'm going to do a little negative reinforcement. And if he votes for him, I'm just not going to let him eat here. And my wife makes salad or garlic bread or beans-- he can have that. He just cannot eat my meat-- my tri-tip, my ribs, my pulled pork, my brisket, I make a wonderful prime rib sandwich-- he can't have any of that.

I know losing hurts -- both sides have suffered bitter losses in the last decade -- and coming right after the election, holiday gatherings and feasts can sometimes be awkward.  But cutting off your family for political ideology is as stupid as cutting off your nose to spite your face.  Cutting off your friends is almost that stupid.  These are people who genuinely care about you, in a way that politicians and political pundits/operatives never will.

Next week, if you're lucky enough to be able to gather with your family, enjoy them as much as possible and take the opportunity to reaffirm the things you have in common.  Don't fret and fume and lecture and try to change the people you love.  They're the same people they've always been.  It's the bond of love and friendship that matters, not how they voted. 

Cults demand their adherents break with friends and family; political parties shouldn't.

mooncat :: Does Political Ideology Trump Friends? Family?
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My sister and I are almost always on opposite sides of the political fence (4.00 / 2)
But we get along fine.  If the fact that I voted for Obama ever comes up, I know she will just smile and say "and I killed your vote."  Then we'll both have another piece of pie.

Work harder and work smarter!

Shunning (4.00 / 3)
I guess those folks have been watching too much "Breaking Amish" on TV.

Funny you should post this.... (4.00 / 2)

I made this comment on FB yesterday:

Just got "defriended" by an old friend upset by my "blatantly political posts" and "nasty comments" about the election. Um.... other than laughing at the Karl Rove/Fox News fiasco on election night, I didn't even take a victory lap. I know from sad experience what a gut punch it is to lose an election you really, really care about.

My response to the "defriender:" Looks like you got drunk on sour grape wine, buddy.

The funny thing?  I'm pretty careful on my personal FB page because I do have a lot of friends & family who don't agree with my politically.  They're old friends many of whom I've known for 30-40+ years so I'm certainly not willing to throw away that relationship.

This is the entire text of my "offensive" post:

This Karl Rove/Ohio/Fox News meltdown is as entertaining as anything I've seen in a long time!


"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith

On the bright side.... (4.00 / 1)

None of my family  or friends have tried to run over me.

Unlike this poor guy:

Man run over by wife for not voting

According to a Gilbert police report, the argument started over her husband's lack of voter participation in the recent election.

Holly Solomon, 28, apparently believed her family was going to face hardship as a result of President Barack Obama's re-election.

Solomon's husband, Daniel Solomon, told police his wife "just hated Obama" and was very angry he was re-elected and blamed the President for problems her family is going through.

Witnesses reported a lot of yelling just before Holly got into a Jeep SUV and began chasing her husband through the parking lot near Gilbert and Elliot roads.


She eventually struck her husband and he was pinned underneath, between the vehicle and a curb.

Daniel was taken to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center and remains there in critical condition, according to police.

Holly was taken into custody and booked into jail for domestic violence charges of aggravated assault.

Police said there were no indications that Holly was impaired by alcohol or drugs during the incident.

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith

The Little Dictator (4.00 / 1)
in their head says that no one can disagree and remain alive. Perhaps they should think about that before they make any more Hitler posters with the rival party's candidate on it?

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. -Churchill

These folks aren't real good at thinking about where their ideology is taking them (4.00 / 1)
In a lot of cases, it's on the slippery slope toward genocide.  If you can't get along with people who disagree with you or look different or act different, and you won't tolerate having them in your life or community, where do you go from there?  Kill them?  It's ugly if you go down that road, but that's where the current crazy conservatism would logically lead.

Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
I have lost (4.00 / 1)
three friends already after the election and possibly one family member. I never start anything but I am just tired of hearing their mess and I will say something after they start. I am going to a function tonight, and depending on how it goes, it may be my last time there - more friends lost. I can live with it. I am not going to walk on egg shells or be a false face sither.

I really enjoy Josh Moon's columns (4.00 / 1)
Thanks for the link.

Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
Email (0.00 / 0)
I emailed him and told him how much I appreciated him writing it.

[ Parent ]
I think Josh Moon is far closer... (4.00 / 1)

...to the truth than the Ira Glass/This American Life piece was. 

For many of us who feel like spies in hostile territory, what Mike Hubbard said, with his obvious dog whistle phrases meant to appeal to racism and bigotry, is what we so often hear when those around us feel they are in like-minded company. After a while, it becomes apparent that we don't merely have a difference in political philosophy but that the way in which we view humanity is intrinsically different.

I think empathy and compassion are the most underestimated and least practiced qualities in our world but I constantly run into those who think those exist in finite quantities and should be doled out in meager fashion.  

[ Parent ]
It's one thing to lose Facebook friends over politics (4.00 / 1)
Much as I love my online friends, those relationships are necessarily more one-dimensional than in-person friendships.  But when you start cutting yourself off from lifelong friends and for crying out loud, family, you're getting crazy.  Those are the people who will, literally, be there when you need them.  If your water is off, they'll invite you to their home for a shower.  No power, they'll let you use their kitchen, or maybe even share their generator.  Waiting at the ER?  Friends and family will be there to hold your hand.  It's stupid to let presidential preference take precedence over those kinds of personal ties.

Work harder and work smarter!

Sadly, what you say isn't always true... (4.00 / 2)

...I've seen family members whose graciousness is conditional. The uncle who hosts large family get-togethers not only to show off his good fortune in life but because he can then feel free to spout political philosophies knowing how rude it would be for anyone taking exception to disagree with their host. 

The sister who discouraged someone helping out her brother because she thought he was lazy and undeserving as evidenced by his political thought. 

The grandfather who disowned his grandson and told him his existence was a mistake because the kid's views with the world didn't match up with Grandpa's. 

That's to say nothing of the folks who've disowned children who dared marry someone their parents didn't approve of for various reasons.

Don't always assume blood is thicker than water. Sometimes it's merely more toxic.  

[ Parent ]



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