I'll walk you out to the curb when we say good-bye

"Amy's" and my friendship grew out of a shared love for animals.  But when it came to politics, Amy saw me as a misguided deplorable who was in the cult of "orange man bad."  Of course, I assumed she carried Mao's little red book wherever she went.  In 2016, Amy left California for a Florida retirement closer to her family, and our friendship was limited to telephone calls and emails.

Across 3,000 miles, there were times our friendship was strained during the chaotic 2016 primary season.  It came to an explosive end a few months after Trump was sworn in as our nation's 45th president.  Amy was angry, and I was ecstatic.  We stopped emailing and calling.

Two years later, around Mother's Day, Amy sent a card to my mom.  I texted the sad news that my beloved mother had passed away, and her mail was being forwarded to me.  Amy and I reconnected.  However, to avoid future issues, we blocked each other from social media accounts.

The pandemic put a planned visit on hold.  Occasionally, a political comment seeped into my email or text.  Because I am very active in Republican politics, founded and write the weekly Patriot Neighbors newsletter, and regularly contribute articles to American Thinker, politics is a big part of my life.

It bothered me that I had to censor myself for a "friend."  For example, if Amy texted today asking, "What have you been up to?"  The honest answer would be:

Fun time in Las Vegas and doing day trips with hubby — see photos.  I was honored to give the invocation at the Long Beach Republican Women Federated April breakfast meeting.  Enjoyed the San Clemente Area Republican Women lunch meeting and the Conservative Patriots of Orange County dinner meeting the next night — great candidates spoke at both.  Lots of fun lunches with friends.  Today, we are taking Golda to the park.  Miss seeing you.

But that text would be too much for Amy.  She didn't want to read a damn word about my life if it directly or indirectly connected to conservative Republican politics.  So my censored response would be:

Fun time in Las Vegas and doing day trips with hubby — see photos.  Lunches with friends.  Today, hubby and I are taking Golda to the park.  Miss seeing you.

Click and send.  I had convinced myself that at least Amy and I were friends.  But were we really friends?  Is this how friends treat each other?  If Amy were active in Democrat politics, I wouldn't mind hearing that she was attending events and rallies, started a liberal newsletter, and contributed articles for a liberal website.

Image: Zip your lip (edited) by benzolx.

But then this…

On April 24, I texted Amy:

Hi Amy,

I hope you are doing well. How was your Easter?

We both love where we live, but politically speaking, we each live in the wrong state. …The Democrats from Florida are the flip of the Republicans from California…

Today it will be very hot so we will take Golda to the park by the ocean.



Amy responded:

Hi Robin! Was just thinking about you... Miss you! (emoji heart)

I replied:

Miss you too. Wondering about visiting this year. Would that be an imposition on you? BE HONEST! (emoji heart)

(Because Amy fosters dogs through a rescue organization, having someone visit for a week might not be easy when there's a house full of pooches, many requiring specialized care.)

While waiting for Amy's response, I contemplated that the Civil War didn't start on April 12, 1861, when Citadel cadets fired on Fort Sumter, an island fortification in South Carolina's Charleston Harbor.  The actual war started decades earlier, when family, coworkers, neighbors, and friends with different political views stopped speaking to each other.  Slowly, they went from polite debate to angry disagreement to destroyed relationships.

From the cotton and tobacco farms of the South to the manufacturing plants in the North, by the time Americans reached for their guns in 1861, the hatred between the two sides made it much easier to load the rifles with bullets.

Is the United States reaching that point, with red and blue states living entirely different lives?  Laurel Duggan, in "Two Americas: Chasm Grows Between Red and Blue States on Hot-Button Social issues," writes

Red and blue states are rapidly moving further apart on hot-button social issues as lawmakers and activists shift their focus to topics like abortion and transgenderism.

Eventually, Amy responded about my possibly visiting her in Florida:

If you absolutely promise to absolutely not say anything related to politics, not even teasing or in jest. NADA! It must be Switzerland or swear I will walk you out to the curb! That's how strongly I feel. But if you can stick to that promise I'd LOVE to have you come and visit! (emoji heart)

I answered:

I will stay in California. (NO emoji heart)

Robin Itzler can be reached at PatriotNeighbors@yahoo.com.

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