Apparently, and according to Deb, it’s obvious when I’m not interested in “getting along” with someone I meet. She says it’s about eye contact. I dunno, maybe she’s right — I do what I do. I’m too old to put on a show.
When I engage, I engage; when I don’t, I don’t. My disinterest is as genuine as my interest.
Friendship isn’t something that comes easily to me, nor should it. That said, I can work with just about anyone, provided they’re competent and their attention is focused on the job.
While searching the wwWeb the other day I happened upon a blog written by a former co-worker — a talented journalist, a wicked-smart guy who’s applied his considerable skills in this and other countries. In the early 2000s we had a pleasant and productive working relationship. We made a memory or two.
I found his e-mail address and dropped him a brief message, expressing my fondness for our long-ago collaboration and saying, simply, “I hope you’re well and happy as can be.”
His reply came yesterday. Seems he’d found my blog, too:
“It’s a little odd that you’re hoping I’m well and happy since, as I learned from looking at your blog, people like me are ‘no friend of mine,’ in your words. That’s the problem with ideological absolutism. It doesn’t leave room for the possibility that someone can have a different perspective without being an evil or awful person.
“Look, I have no standing to ask anything of you, so dismiss this if you want. But for the good of the world I’m asking you to consider this: If you judge people based on ideological criteria instead of judging them as individuals based on the quality of their character, there’s a chance you’ll label as an enemy someone who may actually be an alright person, maybe even someone you’d even enjoy the hell out of working with. Maybe we don’t have to go to battle with anyone who’s different from us.”
For the record, this is what my former colleague is referring to, the last line of my post “Deadly compliance”:
“…if you’re in favor of ‘gun control,’ to any degree and in any form, you’re an enemy of Liberty and no friend of mine.”
His politics didn’t come as a surprise to me — our differences didn’t impede my ability to work with him 20 years ago and, because he’s still a sharp journo, they wouldn’t interfere today. We worked together productively because we’re both very good at what we do, and we were cordial because he’s a good human and, presumably, he judged me to be the same.
So do I believe it’s possible that “someone can have a different perspective without being an evil or awful person”? Of course. But we’re not talking about fiscal policy or bilingual signage here. This is a matter of bedrock principle, as fundamental as it gets, and he avows that it’s acceptable to infringe on my essential Liberty — and yours, and his own.
That, by his choice, makes him “an enemy of Liberty and no friend of mine.” I wish him no harm; indeed, as a fellow human, I wish him well. What’s more, I’d willingly defend his life by exercising the birthright he proposes to steal from me. See, I don’t hope he dies — as Rush Limbaugh said of POTUS #44, “I hope he fails.”
Spectacularly, by the way. And I’ll “go to battle” against him and his progressive allies with all the energy I have, at every turn and every opportunity.
If standing unapologetically on principle is “ideological absolutism,” fine.
We still could, from my point of view, be “friendly.” Clearly he misunderstands the concept of friendship, however — given the elemental difference in our values, we never truly could be friends.
“I am an armed American citizen, endowed by my creator with certain inalienable rights, empowered by my constitution with the right to keep and bear arms, inspired by my ancestors and forefathers to fight for all that is dear and precious and good. I am an armed American citizen and this is as far as the bastards are going.“Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
In the context of that e-mail exchange, the rest of our yesterday was a colonic of camaraderie. It began mid-morning at Second Chance Ranch with a visit from my college roommate and his wife. The four of us sat around the table on the patio (car port), talking a long time before taking our conversation to Squeek’s for lunch.
After they left for home in suburban Cincinnati, later in the afternoon a good friend arrived for a couple of hours at the table. He also brought us something for The Mountain, a tool we’ll put to use soon, offering it to us for a sweet price.
My former roommate and I have been friends for over 45 years, a bond formed while living in the OSU dorms and forged as fraternity brothers. (I met his wife for the first time yesterday.) Deb and I have enjoyed a tight relationship with our local friend for ten years or so, socially as well as through work he’s done for us.
The five of us, though coming from different backgrounds and with very different life experiences, have arrived today at the same view of our world. We share the same values, and our friendships rest on common ground.
So our conversations yesterday — whether we were speaking of RVs, gun control, home repairs, runaway inflation, travel, mass murder, trucks or country artists who backed out of performing at this weekend’s NRA meetings in Houston — approached every subject from the same direction.
We’re Patriots. We’re true Americans who love Liberty. That cements our friendships.
Without that principled foundation, it’s just talk.
One year ago today, we drove our rented pickup truck all the way down to Little Rock and brought back a new cooling unit for Ernie’s fridge.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.
(Today’s header image is from a cartoon by AF Branco)