Friendship over opinions

I feel very blessed that I’ve got a group of friends in which I can talk politics and know that my friendship is not in jeopardy over a difference of opinion.  It’s especially apparent to me in times of particular heated topics, like this recent tragic mass murder in Orlando.  As soon as I read the headline, I’m ashamed to admit it, I for a startling small amount of time thought how horrible the tragedy is, but immediately I started thinking of what my Facebook feed would look like, what the news channels would be saying, what Trump and Hillary would be tweeting.  I know, I’m ashamed, however as the day went on and the rhetoric I was expected was hitting full force, I found myself really going back to the victims and came to a realization, nobody I know wanted this to happen and nobody I know wants this to happen again.  We all mourn their loss and it’s hard to empathize with something so unimaginable, so often we retort to debates and philosophy.  It’s always been the case and always will be.

I encourage all of you to not just think of the problems, that’s the easy part, but think of solutions.  It’s easy to say “gun control” “Islamic extremists”, etc. but it’s much more difficult to say what you think should be done.  You will find that your engagement online, with friends, or on Facebook can and will me more fruitful and less hateful if you offer a solution with some thought behind it.  And if you’re brave enough to do that, then be open to truly hearing others and acknowledging their thoughts, understanding that you both have the same end goal in mind, and be open to even changing or altering your opinions.  But first and foremost, put friendship and love ahead of differences in opinions.  It’s not worth it.  If you sense something turning south then disengage with that person.  Talking politics and philosophy can be fun, but make sure that the person you are choosing to engage with has the same philosophy as you and Thomas Jefferson, “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

Choose love always.  RIP victims in Orlando

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