About the Author: My name is Michael Lucy, a politically homeless conservative. I identify as a Mugwump, a 19th century term for independent conservative ...
Have you ever experienced a wonderful friendship with someone that holds ideological beliefs that are directly opposed to yours?
Believe it or not, there was a time in our society and culture when these did exist! I would like to share an unfortunate story of a friendship dumpster fire. Would certainly appreciate to hear your story as well, leave them in comments at the end of the article.
Rewind to 1999 I was a young capitalist that just finished my (figuratively speaking) "apprenticeship" in IT with a company in Wilmington, DE. I had the requisite 2 years experience on my resume and some in-demand software development skills, so I took my show on the road to Baltimore, MD to work as a Verizon contractor for their growing new High Speed Internet business.
Truth be told, as a capitalist and a young professional I wanted to make more money, luckily I picked a profession that was in demand and paid a nice wage, as opposed to a six-figure college education that left graduates both jobless and penniless!!! (Yep, indeed that's a jab at the young entitled millennials)
After graciously accepting a new contractor position, and getting a handsome raise, I show up to my first day of work. Greeted by a Verizon IT Director, I was immediately assigned to my team manager, who was also a software developer contractor.
The managers name was Heidi. 20 years ago, I could say the remainder of this story was about "her", but in 2022 I have ZERO CLUE what the politically correct word is to describe "her", matter of fact if this story ever filtered down to Heidi and "she" read that I used the pronouns "she / her", Heidi would probably put out a contracted hit on my life (1/2 joking here).
A Different Friendship, but Great Friendship Nonetheless
To get to the "good part" ASAP, will need to provide a little background on our, Heidi and me, relationship over the years leading up to 2020.
Heidi and I worked together for a while before we both moved on to "bigger and better" positions. It was not very long into our work relationship that we both began to confide in each other and share some of our personal skeletons and secrets. My skeleton and secret was I really liked cocaine. Heidi's skeletons were that she suffered from emotional issues (was on various medications) and she was gay, a lesbian.
A solid friendship developed, we both had the antithesis of each other that we could confide. Reflecting back, I think the fact that we rolled in different social circles provided a mutually beneficial confidant, a confidant we both knew would not "expose" skeletons and secrets to our inner social sphere - Know what I mean, make sense?
By early 2001, I had moved on to a position in midtown Manhattan (lived in Jersey City because it was STUPID expensive in Manhattan or anywhere in NYC) and Heidi had moved on to a director position for a non-profit in Washington DC, not far from the White House. We kept in touch, but remember this was 2001 so our communication was mostly email and maybe a monthly phone call.
THEN, 9/11 HAPPENED, remember I was in Manhattan and Heidi was in DC! By 9:00 am, Heidi and I were in constant phone and email communication, at least until phone lines stopped working and then it was solely email communication. I vividly remember Heidi saying how scared she was (we were all scared) and she desperately wanted to move back home, rural "coal country" Pennsylvania.
Fast forward a few years, indeed Heidi moved back home, started a business, and was attending law school studying to become an attorney.
As I am writing this, I came to realize something VERY important that I never considered. Prior to Heidi entering law school, she was apolitical at the very least was apolitical in our conversations. Certainly we had conversations about her feelings towards the "gay" community (LGTBQ was not yet part of our vernacular), but never in a political sense.
NOTE: What I just realized is that CRT, Critical Race Theory, for the first 20-30 years of it's existence was disseminated through law schools. From it's roots in law schools, it was not until the mid-2010's did CRT start to "bubble up" to the main-stream. I realized in writing this, reflecting back upon my friendship with Heidi, and witnessing her increasing rhetoric and activism against perceived oppression, did I realize that she may have likely encountered CRT indoctrination during her time at law school. This explains A LOT, at least for me.
Our Friendship - Activism and Healthy Ideological Conversations
By the time Barack Obama was elected president for his first term, Heidi was nearing graduation from law school. She was still running her consulting business but also opened her a law practice after graduation (2011/2012'ish). She combined her consultant experience, IT experience, and law degree to offer non-profits and business guidance on startup and operations. She was also increasingly dabbling in activism during this time.
Our correspondence started to wane and be less frequent during this time. From 2008-2012, I was adamantly outspoken about President Obama and what I perceived as a socialist and "big government" agenda. With me being so outspoken and anti-Obama and Heidi becoming more and more involved in activism, our relationship was certainly not what it once was, but we were still cordial and when we did speak and was still with mutual respect.
The 2016 Election
Heidi and I were in communication during the 2016 election year. I was "Trump Neutral" but as a conservative for me Trump was the lesser of two evils. Heidi was a stanch Hillary supporter and vehement Trump hater. Heidi, like most everyone on the left, was all-in on the "Trump is a racist, misogynistic, heteronormal pig" narrative.
In the back of my mind, I was one of those people that thought Trump had ZERO chance of winning a general election against the established politician, Hillary Clinton. I thought it was a foregone conclusion that Clinton was going to be our 45th president, in short I was prepared to take the medicine we all were about to be administered with Hillary as our president.
Then, election night 2016 happens. My wife and daughter are visiting family in Florida and I am home alone at my computer reading headlines and watching highlight reel video clips of the election. The unthinkable and unimaginable is happening, Donald J. Trump is winning - THEN - Hillary concedes. Trump is indeed the 45th president-elect.
Sometime between 10 and 11 pm EST, I send a Facebook message to Heidi. My intent was 100% genuine and sincere; "Heidi, I know this is not the result you wanted. Everything will be okay, I promise. If you want to chat let me know." Looking back, I don't believe she felt this message was sincere, and I also believe it was the event that started the gradual downhill in our relationship.
The very next day, clear as day in my Facebook Messenger Inbox;
"Mike, it's happening already. We are not even 24 hours into Trump being the president-elect and it's happening.
This message was cryptic, VERY cryptic, so I gave Heidi a call and we discussed the message. What happened was Heidi and her "husband" (female) were driving down the road together and someone flipped them the bird.
Throughout this conversation, I did my absolute personal best to be sympathetic to her feelings, to her cause, while yet still holding firm in my beliefs while trying to keep the conversation on the rails. This was, though, not a pretty conversation at all. My premise was; "Heidi, I am certain this is not the first time you had felt targeted and certain will not be the last. Myself and every other conservative I know, do not condone such behavior. I hope you can take a small break from this, walk away, and return to realize that your emotions and feelings are hyper-sensitive right now. Every small gesture, you are likely to internally amplify because of your deep seated emotions that oppose Trump."
COVID 2020 Lockdowns & Summer of Social Justice
Heidi and I had very few exchanges between 2017 and 2020. I would occasionally see her posts on Facebook and likewise she would certainly see mine. It's important to note here, not once did I on Facebook (which at the time was my social media space of choice), publicly support anything Trump said or did, I was very much a "Trump Devil's Advocate." I was more critical of Trump than supportive. That said, I am on record many times as saying that MSM (main stream media) has an ax-to-grind with Trump. This article is not about Trump, we can save that conversation for a rainy day!
Then, one day during the summer of 2020, I make one of my usual "middle of the road" seemingly 1/2 joking, 1/2 serious gests, partially to satisfy my own desire to "bridge the divide" between the polarizing ideologies;
"I can't wait until the 2024 presidential election when maybe we can have two likeable and more moderate candidates. Tulsi Gabbord and Dan Crenshaw come to mind as candidates that might fit that description."
Holy Sh!t was that the wrong thing to say - LOLOLOL. I was put on blast my own saying that Crenshaw is just another aspiring establishment RINO hack. THEN, I was put on blast by Heidi, saying that Tulsi is no where near progressive enough. Heidi's response was PARAGRAPH AFTER PARAGRAPH of personal attacks against me and attacks against conservativism in general. Her diatribe was emotionally charged, and subjective, with hate filled rhetoric about the the oppression from the patriarchal white heteronormality of society and culture.
The public Facebook exchange ended with; "I guess it's time to snooze you for 30 days again."
WOW - that smacked me across the face, hard. A 20+ year relationship that had always been mutually respectful had turned into "snoozing for 30 days" because I disagree with your approach to beliefs, opinions, and problem solving, at least that is how I perceived the exchange.
I chewed on this exchange for a minute, literally a minute, then I decided that this relationship is beyond repair. The worldviews of both Heidi and myself had become so distant that there is no way we could ever have a civil and mutually respectful conversation, ever again.
My response was to select the "Block" feature on Facebook. It's kind of silly in it's own little way that as humans we retaliate on social media with seemingly childish pressing of buttons (snooze, block, etc.) to rid ourselves of relationships because of ideology. Perhaps it was my own narcissism and ego kicking in, or perhaps it was simply my unconsciousness (or semi-consciousness) saying; "This relationship and friendship has run its course, it's time to move on." Either way, I am beyond it now. Yes, I feel a shade of guilt every once in a while, but I also know when ideological differences reach such extremes there is absolutely no common ground in which future conversations will produce nothing but animosity. So, my mindset is now that ended the friendship was for the common and mutual good, I can look back and say; "We had a good 20 year run as friends, I will miss our mutually respectful conversations, but it's for the better good that we part ways." It's truly sad we have reached this point in society.