I Have a Good Friend That I Don’t Agree With, Should I Hate Him?

I have a good friend.  Let’s call him Chuck, because his name is actually Chuck.  He lives in Arizona.  We’ve been friends for about eight years now and I like him a lot. Whenever I visit the Phoenix area, I always call him to see if he wants to get together and we usually meet for drinks or whatever.

He’s been a psychotherapist in past years, but since I’ve known him, I think he’s mostly been painting houses for a living.  I know almost nothing about psychotherapy and I haven’t painted anything since college. 

I think he’s from Minnesota originally.  I grew up on the East Coast. He used to run marathons… I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot when I walk 10,000 steps a day.  He can be a bit of a conspiracy theorist… I’m not.  He’s a little bit country, and I’m mostly rock and roll.

He calls or emails me with his opinions on various articles of mine.  He’s often wrong and I tell him when he is.  He always listens to what I have to say.  Sometimes he changes his mind, other times he doesn’t.

Sometimes I think he’s being an idiot about one thing or another.  I never hesitate to tell him when that’s the case… and he always laughs.

He voted for Donald Trump for president.  I didn’t.  It’s not that I was a huge Hillary fan, I just didn’t think Trump was a better option.  He thinks Trump will do some positive things for the middle class that typical politicians wouldn’t do.  I can’t help but hope he’s right, but I think he’s insane to think so at this point.

Chuck still likes President Trump, or at least he’s not terribly bothered by the things that bother me a great deal.  I’m not even sure exactly why… maybe I’ll ask him the next time we speak, but I’d guess that it mostly has to do with him not liking Hillary at all, so I think for him, Trump was the only real option.

I say that because I know that a lot of the homeowners who were dramatically harmed by the meltdown in home prices that started in 2008, and then were invited to get their loans modified under President Obama’s Making Home Affordable program, HAMP, ended up with something similar to PTSD.  It truly was hell and I can’t blame them for being beyond angry over what happened.

Or, maybe it’s something else, I don’t really know for sure. I’ll ask him, if I think of it next time we’re sitting around having a glass of wine.

I’m sure Chuck doesn’t always agree with me on many things too.  He knows I’m a smart guy, but he doesn’t always think I’m right.  And sometimes even when he does think I’m right, he still doesn’t change his mind, which we always laugh about whenever it happens.

I think Chuck’s a really good guy and a very good friend. Sure, he can be an idiot about things at times, but what else would you expect from a former psychotherapist turned house painter who voted for Donald Trump… LMAO. 

(That was supposed to be funny, by the way.  Don’t let it upset you, Chuck will read this and he will laugh, I promise.)

So, what’s the problem these days? 

I understand that many people are intractably in one political camp or another these days, but why now does it often seem to make them hate each other?  Chuck and my political views aren’t the same, but so what?  He’s not a politician, he’s just a guy with an opinion. Why would his opinion make me stop liking him as a friend?

Growing up I watched my father disagree with my uncle on numerous occasions, but it certainly didn’t stop them from being friends or enjoying each other’s company around the holidays.  My father was a Chevy person, but my uncle was a Ford man.  My uncle voted for Richard Nixon and my father didn’t… none of it mattered enough to breed hatred and distrust.

Today, if I say something negative about President Trump, people calling me names like “libtard.”  I’m a liberal retard?  Is that what that means?  That’s kind of rude, don’t you think?  I mean, just because I think that Trump handled something badly, I’m a liberal retard?

Is that an appropriate thing to say in response to me not being in favor of building a wall along the southern border?  How could my view on that issue bother anyone all that much?

I mean, I’m not personally going to stop anyone from building such a wall.  I’m not in charge of walls in this country.  How can my opinion about a wall matter so much to anyone that they would feel the need to call me names like lib-tard.  What’s next, a fist fight in the parking lot?

Say that again about the wall and I’m going to kick your ass?  Seriously?  LMAO.

I remember when Trump put his immigration ban in place.  It was chaos and people were arguing whether it was right or wrong.  I didn’t know what to think about it, so I asked people on both sides… what is “extreme vetting?”  And no one knew. 

I found it amazing and troubling that so many people had formed such strong opinions on something that no one could even define? 

I don’t really believe that we’re nearly as polarized as we appear to be.  After all, we all want quality, affordable health care or an immigration policy that makes sense or a growing economy.  There are, of course, some issues that might divide some of us, but just because you’re not on the same side of an issue that I am, doesn’t mean I think you’re a terrible person necessarily.

Plus, you never know about sides… I change my mind all the time on various issues.  I remember when a close friend of mine asked me about my views on the death penalty and I told him I was for it.  He said I was wrong and explained why he’s against it.  We must have gone back and forth for over an hour, maybe two, and I sort of came around to his way of thinking.

Sort of, anyway.  I still think I’d be in favor of killing someone who harmed my family, for example, but after hearing what my friend had to say, I do now understand why the death penalty is probably wrong… and I didn’t before that.

And don’t even get me started on my wife.  We’ve been happily married for 26 years, and agree on most things, but please don’t take that to mean that we agree on everything because we absolutely don’t.  And you know what… I think it would be boring if we did.  We’ve had our share of disagreements but I respect her opinion even when I think it’s ridiculous.

The bottom-line is that I’ve had friends with beliefs that I don’t agree with all of my life. 

I’ve even known some that I would have to say are racists to varying degree.  I detest racism, and wouldn’t be friends with a KKK member or neo-Nazi, but I don’t hate everyone who has ever expressed a view that I considered racist.  If I did, I’d have almost no one to talk to.

So, go ahead and think however you want to think about things.  If we’re friends, I might tell you that you’re wrong… I might even tell you that you’re an idiot.  But you don’t have to adopt my view of whatever we’re talking about if you don’t want to. I probably won’t hate you for it.

All I want my friends to do is listen to me like I always try to listen to them.  I hope they keep learning throughout their lives, but there’s no law that says they have to.  We can sit around and talk about all sorts of things.  It doesn’t have to be a debate and no one has to win or lose.

I’m much more concerned that the wine is good…


Mandelman out.


P.S. Hey Chuck… I’ll be coming to Scottsdale this month.  Let’s get together.  Bring your dumbest opinions, I’ll tell you your wrong and we’ll try to come up with a reason to hate each other… LOL.

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