Final Impressions

The politically angry American

Written by James Combs

Too many people are letting politics decide their friendships.

Story: James Combs Illustration: Josh Clark

Here are a few not-so-bold predictions for the next four weeks:

Friends will become mortal enemies. Nice people will turn into disrespectful jerks. Open minds will become increasingly narrow.

With the midterm election only one month away, these predictions likely will become a reality. These days, nothing ends lifelong friendships or tears families apart quite like politics.

That’s the harsh lesson we learned following the ugly 2016 presidential election. Countless people not only unfriended family members and friends on Facebook, they kicked them out of their lives for good.

If you were one of those people, don’t blame your behavior on the flawed candidates or the endless barrage of mudslinging advertisements. You are clearly the problem.

You’ve created some weird political litmus test that determines whether or not a friendship is worth maintaining. God forbid someone prefers a different candidate than yours or has a differing opinion on immigration. If it bothers you so much that you’re willing to dissolve friendships, then it’s time for a new perspective on life.

See, you’ve come to a point where you embrace ideology over people. Liberals and conservatives alike are guilty of this. For some reason, you feel the only qualities in another person that matter are whether that person supports gun control (or not); whether that person agrees with transgender bathroom laws (or not); or whether that person supports building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border (or not).

Here’s the deal, Lucille. Political beliefs are not what matter most about you or someone else. What truly matters is the you who loves your children unconditionally. The you who lends a helping hand to a frail, elderly person. The you who volunteers for a charitable cause. The you whose mere presence makes another person smile.

So don’t become enraged next time you scroll through your Facebook news feed and realize several friends have posted dissenting viewpoints.

Remember, it’s their right to be wrong.

About the author

James Combs

Akers Media Group's James Combs has been a staff writer for several local publications since August 2000. He has had the privilege of interviewing some of Lake County’s many fascinating residents—from innovative business owners to heroic war veterans—and bringing their stories to life. A resident of Lake County since 1986, James recently embarked on a journey to lead a healthier lifestyle. He has lost 60 pounds and walks nearly five miles a day. In his spare time, he enjoys target shooting, skeet shooting and watching his beloved Kentucky Wildcats!

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