Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My Opinion: All the Good-Time Friends Gone with the Trump Wind

 Most of the liberal Democrat acquaintances I have on Facebook are part of the reason Trump won the election; they should have been more active and come out stronger for Bernie Sanders, but instead they supported Clinton. Most never joined grass root organizations or volunteered to improve their communities. Instead, they embraced capitalism and materialism and confused passive resistance with passivity. There are some old friends on Facebook, that I have met in person, that I feel comradely with; every other comrade on Facebook I have never met. 

I had my last conversation with one old friend last evening; I felt I had to block him from my two main Facebook pages and Messengers because he kept saying I was denying the Chinese “1.5 million murdered” in Tibet, but I never denied or believed it. I merely responded that he should pay attention to what he could do in his community now; that the past has its causes and reactions and can’t be changed, but the future can be changed. Because of the politicization, he is not fun to talk with anymore; he resented my joke comparing Finland and America's educational system; they were Finnish, I said, but in my assessment, the U.S. was “finished.” Joining a chorus of condemnation of Trump, I reminded him he could have done something to forestall him. He was embarrassed by my saying I hadn’t seen him help improve the union at the public school we worked at, hadn't joined any protests, or done any community service. He sounded like a hypocrite. In response, he lashed out at me with red baiting pushing me into defending China against U.S. and European aggression.  

      In another instance, I ‘unfriended’ and blocked a colleague for being a Democrat-hating Trump supporter. This person had always been inactive and disinterested in education or union affairs at the school where we worked,  but I used him as a foil: “A foil usually either differs dramatically or is extremely similar but with a key difference setting them apart.” We were both humorous ESL teachers that retired with a 25-55 union-city buy-out, a year apart, and we had other personal similarities, but there were major differences in our personalities and ideals as well.

 He had never been my friend outside of school, though he became friendly on the internet sending me curious landscape and stuff after I retired in Taiwan, but politically our ideals became apparent. For example, I was an altruistic defender of immigrant rights, was faculty adviser for a social action club, and seriously tried to empower my ESL students with proactive methodology. My colleague, however, wasted the students’ time, according to "Rate a Teacher" on the internet, caring only to get through the school day doing as little work as possible. He was found out engaging in personal business in class  but got away with it after filing a union grievance. 

There is no more fun to be had from this old friend, either. We showed our true colors when he sent an e-mail of a navy choir singing Four Season songs and I joking commented they looked like “Good Humor Boys,” a reference to the bike-riding ice cream sellers and “Jersey Boys” the musical, because of their white uniforms. He felt I had insulted the U.S. military, effectively exposing his jingoism.

One by one, the flimsy ties I have with acquaintances and colleagues from the U.S. are breaking apart; the only friends left are Democrats and liberals. There is only one pro-Trump supporter left: a secretary I never spoke with when we were colleagues. I gave her a piece of my mind when she posted a meme that said Americans should give Trump a chance. I will not comment next time; simply unfriend her, too. 

One of my old Brooklyn neighbors posted a monologue video from an Iraqi War vet who supported Trump’s Muslim ban. I disagreed with the meme in a comment and the old neighbor has backed off reverting to his car and dog posts. I try to remain good-time and neutral with non-political friends, but if they read memes I share and write disagreeable comments, I will respond, even if it means the good times are gone. I turn to my new friends and comrades, on the internet and in person, for solidarity. 

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