I’ve learned a lot of very valuable lessons from my parents over the years, but I have to say that one of the best social lessons I’ve learned from them is to never discuss politics or religion. Unless I’m wrong, few people that I’m close to actually know what my leanings are in either department. And that, my friends, is on purpose. I tend to smile and nod a lot, which could be construed as any number of opinions, but I rarely go into detail about how I feel.
Can you name one person that you know who has changed their political opinion or religion based on a Saturday night argument? I highly doubt it. Or altered their vote because of your bumper sticker? Not likely.
I’m a middle aged woman now, and I can honestly say that I had no idea how either of my parents voted until recent years. I often suspected that they preferred different camps, but I was never sure. My God, what a great gift that was. I say “was,” because I now know how my dad votes, but I’m not impressionable anymore, and I could care less (no offense, Dad).
Friendships and relationships should be based on a myriad of factors, but not religion or politics alone. Looking past someone’s view of social issues, and seeing them for who they really are, is the absolute ideal, and I’ll be forever grateful to my parents for raising me to have a mind of my own and to respect every party and walk of life.
My friends are Republicans. My friends are Democrats. My friends in Canada are Progressive Conservatives, Liberals and NDPs. My friends are straight, gay, lesbian and bi. They’re black, white, and several combos of each. My friends prefer dogs. My friends prefer cats. They’re catholics, protestants, buddhists and atheists, and I love every one of them as much as the other.
Friendships should be based on souls, not poles.
Actually, the only thing I have zero tolerance for is zero tolerance. It’s true that I haven’t been an American my entire life. Hell, I’ve only been one for a few years, but I am American, and unless I’m completely mistaken, the epitome of being an American is embracing the rights of others to be who they want to be.
Now THAT I’ll pledge allegiance to.
And let’s not lose our sense of humor about politics and religion. I know they’re intense issues, but if we can’t laugh at ourselves and our differences, we’re nothing short of doomed.
Again, thanks Mom and Dad. You are absolutely the best. I love you, and that’s one opinion I’ll never hesitate to share. xo
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