If there is one thing that can tear a friendship apart, it’s one question: What do you believe?
Whether people want to accept it or not, beliefs, be they political or ethical, are partially the foundation of every relationship. Some choose not to voice them in fear of offending or insulting others. But, when they are brought to light, the foundation can get a little shaky and what was once known as an unbreakable bond collapses.
The election of Trump as the president of the United States has shaken relationships nationwide including my own.
There are few friendships tighter than those found in high school. We laugh together, we cry together, we pass together, we fail together. We get through some of the hardest years in a teen’s life together.
Sadly, once the testing is over and the tears are wiped away, we begin to hear the beliefs that were once closeted, and what seems like a perfect time for laughter is silent. The hidden half of a companion’s identity is revealed. We are then introduced to our friends as they really are — our enemies.
Please, do not misunderstand. I am completely aware of the First Amendment, which states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Freedom of speech exists, and I totally acknowledge it.
However, I find it hard to genuinely continue a friendship with someone who supports policies that strip immigrants and minorities their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when that someone is also friends with people who are being directly affected by these government decisions. In our rainbow tribe, we have a DACA recipient, families being threatened with deportation, and African Americans afraid to be pulled over by the police.
How does one sleep at night knowing the president he/she supports is choosing to tear apart the lives of his/her friends?
I have not a clue.
And, on the other hand, how do I continue a genuine relationship with someone who supports my own and millions of others’ downfall?
The answer to this question is simple: I don’t.
It is just one of those moments that we have heard our parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles talk about. It is one of those cliché life lessons: once someone’s true identity is revealed and we realize they are not the person we thought they were, we have to make a choice — keep them in our lives or say goodbye.