February 07, 2006
It's true that once I started to meet people who agreed with me, it was easier to prefer their company to the company of others. I'd much rather nod in agreement than argue! But before that, back in college, more often than not I'd find myself talking down a road less traveled and then backing off when I realized the other person wasn't following me. I usually changed the subject or tried to find ways to agree. I began to feel more isolated, especially after my Dinesh D'Souza experience. But the war really tipped the scales; I have very little contact with anyone I was friends with before OIF. Heck, my maid of honor hasn't spoken to me in about two years. I have no problem with people growing apart, but it's sad to me that we could be friends when I knew others' political views but not when they knew mine.
However, there's one friend who has shown me that two people can be respectful of each other and put aside their differences. I met my friend from Sweden back in 1998, and we're still as close today as we were then. She's a Swede through and through; I don't think we agree on a single thing politically! However, we always manage to talk civilly and explain our positions in peace. Maybe it's easier because we come from two different worlds: we can easily shrug and say, "What else would she think, she's Swedish/American?" But we manage to make the friendship work even when we have fundamental differences in thinking: she about had a heart attack when I whooped after Timothy McVeigh was executed, and I nearly keeled over when she told me that Swedish parents receive School Supply Money from the government! She's been nothing but supportive about my husband's deployment, even though I know she's not such a fan of the military in general.
She visited over the weekend, and we had a wonderful time. She was interested in my husband's photos from Iraq and learning about the new functional area he's applying for. She even met my two best friends here; I wonder what it's like for her to listen to my right wing friends' conversations about re-enlistment and school bullies! Erin even thought later she should apologize for sounding so American, but I think it's good for my Swedish friend to hear us as we really are. She's tolerant enough to hear the truth!
So in response to Pericles' joke, I have indeed distanced myself from many people in my life who have expressed hostility towards my husband's career or towards my views. But it doesn't have to be that way. I am completely capable of accepting my Swedish friend just the way she is because she's willing to do the same. We have a wonderful friendship, despite the fact that we're ridiculously different. She's a true friend.
Plus she uses me for my commissary privileges to stay stocked in Starbursts. I can live with that...
Posted by: Ruth H at February 07, 2006 03:24 PM (MDRy9)
Posted by: Pericles at February 07, 2006 06:48 PM (eKf5G)
Posted by: Jim Shawley at February 08, 2006 10:43 PM (dk0bl)
Posted by: Question at February 20, 2006 01:30 PM (n17hK)
Posted by: question at February 23, 2006 12:52 PM (n17hK)
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