I want to declare myself a casualty in the ongoing “war” between friends who share opposing views of Donald John Trump.
A fellow I have known for more than 30 years has inflicted the wound. It’s not mortal. I will survive and I will proceed with the rest of my life. However, I want to share with you the pain — albeit momentary — I am feeling over the emotional injury I have suffered.
We were connected on Facebook. My longtime friend and I would “converse” on occasion via that social medium. He and I would exchange in small talk, inquire our families and refer occasionally to the good old days when we worked together.
He is a Donald Trump supporter. I … am not! He would challenge my anti-Trump tirades. I might respond. Not always, mind you, but I did on occasion.
My friend — and I’ll continue to refer to him as such — once told me that his wife couldn’t grasp how he and I could retain a friendship given our vast political differences. He said he told her that our friendship transcended politics. Wow! How cool. Right?
Well, it seems that he has had enough of our friendship. I hadn’t heard from him in some time, so I checked on the status of our Facebook relationship. I discovered that he and I were no longer “friends” on the social medium.
What the … ?
I haven’t inquired directly of him. I haven’t asked him why he “unfriended” me. I haven’t asked for an explanation. I am trying to decide what to do. Right now I am licking my wound.
I am left to ponder the effect that Donald Trump has had on friendships all over the country. Surely my example is not the only one. Others’ relationships no doubt have suffered in this Age of Trump. We are witnessing in this fractious time the impact that social media coupled with the toxic political environment fostered by Donald Trump is having on interpersonal relationships.
It looks unprecedented to my eyes. My entry into politics occurred in the early 1970s. I came home from the Army. I enrolled in college. I became politically active. I fought like hell to elect George McGovern president in 1972. It, um, didn’t work out. However, those dark days didn’t produce lasting damage to my friendships with those who opposed Sen. McGovern’s effort to become elected president.
This time it’s different. Shockingly so!
I’ll get over the injury I have suffered. Eventually. I’ll just need to redouble my effort to make sure we remove Donald Trump from the high office he never should have inherited in the first place. His presence on the political stage is dangerous to our emotional health.
He also is inflicting damage on too many friendships.