A Closed Mind

Taylor Ramsey

My friend of at least 40 years was not as much a friend as I thought he was. My vote for Republicans and President-Elect Trump led to this discovery for me.

I was told once that I was very opinionated. I responded that I believe everyone is opinionated; the difference is that some of us are open to making our opinions known. I would assume anyone expressing themselves in a public place would and should expect feedback from those who agree or disagree with them.

After our last presidential election I had heard of people being disowned or unfriended for having a different political point of view. I believe, but can’t prove it, most of those resolving to unfriend friends are those who sided with the Democrats.

My ex-friend believes I am racist, bigoted, homophobic, and xenophobic and all the other stuff the left has labeled those of us on the right. I have heard those accusations more than once despite the fact that those accusations against me could not be further from the truth.

One fact we must admit is that no one candidate for an elected office can be 100 percent of what a voter wishes the candidate to be. They can’t agree on everything. If they do, I suggest it is extremely rare. We must vote for someone and accept that we may disagree with some position/s of the party or person we voted for.

My longtime friend emailed this to me after I asked him if he would like to meet for a meal:

I'm just not in a place to sit in the same room with you. We have very different beliefs and opinions and I would not be able to sit back and choke in my true feelings about you or your candidate so in that respect it would not be a pleasant meeting. Maybe over time that will change but right now I'm not in the right place. It's clear we have very fundamental differences. Maybe it will give you some comfort to know that I feel the same way with three of my siblings and have unfriended a number of others as well.”

To be fair, I believe my ex-friend feels strongly about the plight of others and Republicans and Mr. Trump pose a threat to those he is concerned about. I believe the opposite is true and more of us will be helped rather than be hurt.

When President Obama was elected, I never considered unfriending people who voted for him. I have done all I could to change the direction of President Obama, but I could never comprehend disowning my friends who voted for him. I did not realize my friend was so narrow minded and wished to only associate with those who agree with him.

In past discussions I reminded him I had many friends who were gay, gay and married, of other colors, worshiped differently than me or did not worship at all and we are all still good friends. In fact, I openly support those mentioned above.

My ex-friend ended his email to me with the phrase “Be well.” I will do my best to be well. I will not be able to let him know whether my family and I are doing well as he has decided that friendship is determined by voting records rather than by a caring heart. I have to wonder if I would have received the same email from my friend if Clinton won.

Closed minds and lack of consideration for diversity of thought are scary to me. Associating with those who have different views is healthy and it also teaches us so much if our minds are open to other ideas and facts.

I wished my ex-friend and his family well. I will stay the course and express my ideas and thoughts. I will continue to listen to and read those who disagree with me. I must keep learning and doing my best to make a difference. In my eyes, my opinion and the opinion of those I do not agree with do matter.

To my ex-friend, your action to unfriend me indicates that only one line of thought is to be considered by you and tolerating those with different views is impossible. I feel bad for my ex-friend as he is limiting his life experiences with others.

President Kennedy said, “If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”

We must do all we can to make the world safe for friendships too.



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