Years ago, while at a Christmas party, a friend and fellow worker and I began to discuss our personal views on politics. We did not have the same political beliefs and eventually we became angry with each other. Each of us were positive our political party was the best one to lead the country while at the same time we knew the other party was not fit to run the country.
Another friend came in to see why we were so angry with each other and why on earth we would be discussing politics at our Christmas party. We immediately stopped and went in to join our other friends. The next day my friend came over to discuss what had happened to us the night before. We had been good friends for years and worked together on a variety of projects and neither of us wanted to give up our friendship. We didn’t want to lose our friendship and declared that we would never discuss politics again. This was over 20 years ago.
Last Friday night a friend and I went to the Flix, an organization that shows foreign films at the Fox Theater every year starting in September and ending in April. We saw “Zulu Summer,” a film that shows how people can get along with each other even if they have different views and beliefs.
Getting into the car my friend and I said “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the whole world could accept each other like that.” Then we began to talk politics and suddenly we were angry with each other. My stomach tightened up. I felt tense and shocked at how she couldn’t see how her belief was so wrong. She looked like she was feeling the same way. Then I remembered my experience talking politics years ago and I immediately changed the subject.
The next day I wrote in my diary about that situation and knew I needed to apologize. I had been disrespecting my friend’s views, judging them wrong. Not taking the time to see what was happening in our conversation I was suddenly convinced that my political belief was the right and perfect one and by her not believing as I did I was feeling attacked. Not liking myself as I read what I’d done I called my friend and said I loved having her as my friend and that I was sorry for judging and disrespecting her political view.
I do not have the right to demand others have my beliefs. Later in life I may find I need to change my beliefs so I need to remember to listen and know that other people will not always believe the way I do.
This is one of my lessons in life I want to keep forever and if politics come up I am not to demand that people believe like I do.