There was a posting on Facebook recently that caught my eye. “Remember when you could say the earth was flat and Nazis were bad and be sure everyone around you agreed?”
Yes, I do remember. I remember very well. For nearly all my extended life, you could say those things and not fear anyone disagreeing. No more.
A personal story. We’ve been thinking of selling our home and buying another locally. Commission on just the purchase would be about $12,000 to the Realtor. Plus about the same amount, likely to the same Realtor, on our sale. No small potatoes there.
We called on a place we drove by, connected with an agent, didn’t care for the inside but asked him to keep us apprised of new listings on the market. For several weeks, he did.
Then, a few weeks ago, I sent him a copy of a then current “SECOND THOUGHTS,” thinking he might like to know something about his new clients. Bad idea, it seems.
In a few minutes, he emailed, telling me in no uncertain terms to immediately take him off my list because it was “obvious we didn’t see eye-to-eye.” Of course, I complied. In these following weeks, we’ve heard nothing.
Then, I got to thinking about the some $24,000 that could have just fallen in his lap with a serendipitous phone call for which he did absolutely nothing. And some mildly political comments that caused him to walk away?
I’ve seen the guy. I’ve seen how he dresses and the age of the car he drives. He could use the money. But, I’ve also heard from him of his Evangelical church of “25,000" attendees and listened to a bit of his own political talk. Now, he’s decided my general political writings are not acceptable.
Here’s another case. I’ve a very talented friend who’s very close. He’s different from me in about any subject you choose. Nearly nothing in common. And his political views are very close to those of Vlad, the Impaler.
Yet, we talk regularly, chat about any subject that comes from our very different thinking, have disagreements, but have never come close to a social rupture. We’re good friends. With him, “the earth is round and Nazis are bad.” That’s enough to agree on. I’d hate to ever lose his friendship.
I remember eight decades of my life when those with differing views expressed them without fear of alienating me or anyone else. As I watched my parents interact with acquaintances and, later, I with my own, I found many of the “differences” in beliefs - social, material, political - were binding, not divisive. We were open. Accepting. Learning.
Too often now, that’s not the case. To our shame. To our loss. The current “with-me-or-against-me” tribalism has ruptured many friendships. And even families. It’s torn the social fabric that traditionally made us a strong country. And it’s playing pure Hell in our national governance.
Of our national media, our President says “Don’t believe what you see and don’t believe what you hear.” He’s attempting to drive a political and societal wedge to further separate us - one from the other. His relentless lying is yet a further attempt to cloud reality by sowing confusion and hatred.
Attorneys have a saying: “When the client is innocent, try the case. When the client is guilty, try the evidence.” We’re living in just such a situation. The client - Trump - is guilty. So, he’s trying the evidence, using deceit, fraud, smoke, disinformation, lying and any other known delaying tactic to confuse.
Our erstwhile Realtor is a victim of that confusion, I think, as are many others. A minority, to be sure, but many. Only in his case, it’s costing him about $24,000 cash as well.