By Gallagher & Schleicher
Chances are you won’t read this post—won’t even get a chance to. If you do, it will be because someone forwarded it to you or perhaps you’ve read it on someone else’s phone. This post is invisible to you because you’ve been blocked.
There was a time I would have done this only with great reluctance, but of late you’ve made it easier. In fact, I have zero regrets at having cut you off and zero doubts that it was the right thing to do. Here’s why…
You’ve always been far right, while I’ve always been your token liberal friend. It didn’t seem an insurmountable difference, given all the years we happily shared together without Trump being in the picture.
When home for the holidays, it made for an exciting season, to see if we could manage to converse only about things like pets, kids, and the weather—no politics. After a while it was like holding one’s breath for an extended period. I’d let out a sigh of relief upon your departure and suspect you would too, at having managed to maintain the relationship. Like the warring sides in World War I, we’d successfully exited our respective trenches and had a Christmas peace pause.
At other times you would joke with me about political issues and I would joke back. Lighthearted differences of opinion about issues that were in fact as weighty as they get. America has long been near a 50-50 split, so this seemed the normal state of affairs. While Trump might do and say deplorable things, I understood that you simply liked some of his policy positions and how high the stock market was. You even (occasionally) bemoaned his tweeting.
As the years under the Trump Administration marched on, I noticed some changes in you. Comments you would have avoided earlier for concern that they might mistakenly cause someone to believe you were racist you now posted with glee, as if daring them to do so. You surprised me with a post that appeared to wish harm on the FBI. You went from someone whose opinions I found intriguing as alternatives to my own to a person whose views were so conspiracy-laden I wondered if someone had kidnapped the real you I used to know.
Then came the straw that broke the camel’s back. In a Facebook conversation with another friend of mine you mentioned your hope he might get run over while protesting in the middle of the road and suggested he better not be alone in a room with you. You topped it off by remarking how you would like to see Obama hung and then strafed with machine gun fire.
After you were blocked by me and others around me, you responded with a missive explaining you could no longer pretend to have fondness for me, suggested I’d been poisoned by “political bullshit” and was unAmerican. You closed by declaring you never wanted to hear from me again. Wish granted.
I’ll admit I’m less interested in what led you in particular to your house of hate than in knowing how many other people Trump has activated similarly. And what you all will do if he wins. And if he loses. I suspect both answers are frightening.
Following Trump without becoming like him turned out to be far harder than imagined. The fear that others secretly looked down on you was his entrance to your heart and mind. Now he controls the steering wheel, fear is the fuel, and you’re not sure of the destination but you notice the speed at which you’re traveling is ever-increasing.
Your assumption that all we progressives secretly mocked you for your world view, your view of religion, and what you had or had not done with your life? It was mistaken. But you have done a hell of a job of late convincing me that you (like your President) are arrogant, hateful of those who don’t look like you, ill-informed, gullible when it comes to even the craziest of conspiracies, would readily abandon our democracy if it would keep Donald in power, and now are so motivated by fear that you would not hesitate to harm even those who were once closest to you.
I’ll confess that Trump has changed me too. I no longer enjoy lengthy discourses looking for common ground. Some days I even wonder whether peaceful non-resistance has its limits when it comes to those who have surrendered their consciences to a pre-genocidal level of conspiratorial thinking. I no longer more highly value maintaining relationships—even long term ones—than I do answering the pressing need to oppose authoritarian views. I no longer avoid words like “treason” or forego public profanity to call out, for example, Donald’s derision of the troops and failure to protect them from enemy attack.
It’s been said one person can’t make a difference and I’d agree a single person is unlikely to save our country. But history is full of examples of a strong leader who managed to leave his nation in rubble, typically over a lie about promised greatness. Along the way, the citizens of those places, like Americans today, were changed, one by one, for the worse.
Goodbye, friend. Hope you find some peace. Five years after Trump is gone from the scene, perhaps we’ll meet again and life in these United States can begin to return to normal. Sadly, the more than 600,000 who died in the last American Civil War suggest the period between now and the end of hostilities will not be one from which we quickly recover.
David Gallagher is a transplanted Texan, living and working in London and tweeting at @TBoneGallagher. David Schleicher is an attorney who represents U.S. federal employees worldwide and Texas business/non-profit clients. You can find their earlier and future columns at www.ContranymTimes.com. To receive their free columns via email sign up here or email them: ContranymTimes@gmail.com. Visit/Like on Facebook via this link.