I Don’t Have To Like You

Hey guess what?  Did you know that I’m not required to like you?  …like even if you’re an American.

That seems like a non sequitur.  Let me explain.  Via a Facebook page that I run I posted an article about the Governor of Pennsylvania vetoing a totally bullshit Republican budget (high fives, Gov. Wolf…that was awesome).  A gentleman who happens to not be a Democrat responded to this post by saying that the Governor is owned by unions and he has to stop being so “my way or the highway” about this whole budget business.  There was some response to this wondering whether perhaps only Republicans are allowed to refuse to comprise to which he responded that yes, that would ideally be the case. Someone referred to that as a fairly hypocritical stance to which he gave this response:

“We are all americans why so much bitterness from the left this is worse than what Putin says about us my oh my what is the country comming too?”

Okay.  First of all, what does the fact that we’re all Americans have to do with anything?  And secondly, as I responded, what does any of that mean?  I really don’t know.  What is Putin saying about our country and why do you give a shit?  This is what I got back:

“THINK If you are a Democrat why do you hate Republicans your fellow Americans?”

First of all, please be more patronizing.  Secondly, I think you’re making a pretty huge leap assuming that “if you are a Democrat…you hate Republicans.”  I actually happen to know several Democrats that are married to Republicans, so at minimum I don’t think those Democrats hate their personal Republicans.  Even so, where is it written that I’m required to like you or any Republican…or anyone for that matter? I’m not.  Neither are you.  You don’t have to like me and I don’t have to like you.  You want to know something crazy?  There are people that I agree with that I actually don’t like very much.  Liking you and agreeing with you are two totally different things.

In a more general way, what the hell does being an American have to do with it?  I was not aware that part of being an American meant that I have to like all other Americans.  That seems improbable.  If being an American means liking every other American then I really am a bad American.  Here’s the problem though, what this guy seems to be doing is confusing liking a person with agreeing with them.  As I said before, those are two totally different things.  This is an issue I’ve had with people of a certain mindset before: “You disagree with me so that means you must not love me!”  Um…no.  Really, do you never disagree with your friends?  Ever?  That seems like it would be a really boring friendship.  I guess if that’s what you’re into, sure, but surely at some point there would be something you disagree about.  If disagreement was equivalent to disliking someone no one would be married.

This idea that disagreement has anything to do with your feelings about a person is incredibly juvenile.  It’s a black and white, incredibly limited way to view the world and the people who live in it.  As far as I can tell, being involved with a random Facebook conversation with you is not knowing you.  If I don’t know you then I can’t really like or dislike you.  Maybe you annoy me.  That doesn’t mean a whole lot though.  My kid annoys me.  My husband annoys me.  I have brothers; they annoy me.  Sometimes my friends annoy me.  And those are all people that I love with my whole heart.  I don’t hate Republicans at large or even individually because – and not to put to fine a point on it – I don’t have time.  I have no time to hate you because that is a waste of my brain power and energy.

So what do we do?  Here’s a thought: just have a conversation.  Don’t make it about whether or not I or anyone else likes or dislikes you.  It’s probably not unless they are actively calling you names.  What you’re doing by pulling liking and disliking into the conversation is trying to guilt-trap me into backing down because you can’t win an argument any other way.  If you think you can’t win me over with actual facts or persuasion then back out of the argument gracefully.  Say “sounds like we’ll just have to agree to disagree, good talk.”

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