February 07, 2006

A TRUE FRIEND

On Thanksgiving I wrote about how happy I am that I've found my two best friends because part of the reason I started this blog was because none of my old friends agreed with me politically. It wasn't until we got into the Army that I started to make friends who valued the same things I do. In the comments section, Pericles said, "So we can safely assume that you've never distanced yourself from friends because of THEIR politics?" He says he was joking, and I don't think he meant to be rude, but I have thought about that comment for a long time.

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: Sarah at 02:36 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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1 Sarah, I have friends and children who do not share my political views, but we agree to disagree on those. We do have discussions, but nothing is taken personally and politics is just a part of life, there is much more to be friends about than there are differences. I hope you will find yourself with some of your old friends again when you get a chance. Maybe a little maturity in them will help. In your case I know maturity was escalated with the time you have spent with your husband and his service overseas and in Iraq. As for me, I've had 69 years to mature and if I haven't by now........

Posted by: Ruth H at February 07, 2006 03:24 PM (MDRy9)

2 Hey, look at me starting trouble. Not like I'm entitled to any answers about your personal life, Sarah, but I'm curious about whether you'd consider a person with my views to be beyond the pale as a potential friend. I don't think I'm hostile to the military; far from it. Heck, I had a very pleasant dinner the other night where I was sitting next to a retired Army general. On the other side of him was a former Sec. Def. I agreed with nearly everything they said. On the other hand, I think that the invasion of Iraq was a bad idea in the abstract that became a disaster due to bad planning. The military itself seems to have done as good of a job of executing this lousy plan as anyone could hope, but with some notable exceptions, e.g., Abu Ghraib. I'm curious whether those negative points make me hostile to the military in your book, if not mine.

Posted by: Pericles at February 07, 2006 06:48 PM (eKf5G)

3 I recall the Gipper once said that he didn't leave the Democratic Party; the Party left him. Perhaps that may be a more accurate assessment of your relationship to, for example, your maid of honor? But what is a true friend, but one who stands beside you in times of trouble?

Posted by: Jim Shawley at February 08, 2006 10:43 PM (dk0bl)

4 You use your taxpayer-supported commissary privileges to buy goods for a nonmilitary foreign national?

Posted by: Question at February 20, 2006 01:30 PM (n17hK)

5 (sigh) you're wrong. The quote that angers you refers to the tireless efforts of countless Islamic groups that are mainstream and moderate and try to tell the world this, over and over. But that doesn't make the news, and suckers just take the most extreme behaviour that is on the news and spoonfed to them daily and say "that represents all of Islam". The suckers say "spoonfeed me more!" and they are not disappointed. Try to grok all the Islamic organizations decry terrorism every chance they get.

Posted by: question at February 23, 2006 12:52 PM (n17hK)

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