Quote of the week:

“They'd have to shoot me to get me back to Illnois."

~Abraham Lincoln upon going to WDC to become president

Monday, February 18, 2008

Too Thin Skinned?!

I have 3 different blog entries started, very disparate in theme and content. None of them are gelling well enough (in my mind) to keep on topic in a coherent thread. If you are a repeat reader, you know that keeping on topic in a coherent thread is already an issue for me. I tend to jump to non-sequitors, as though I’d never been introduced to the concept of segue. This has been bugging me for going on two weeks now, so I’m going to plow through and get it off my cyber chest.

Let me preface this with saying that I am pretty thick skinned. I can take a lot of crap, and let it roll of my back. I can joke around with the best of them. In fact, I enjoy a good sparring match of exchanging barbs, matching wits with a sharp opponent. I find it invigorating.
I have friend/acquaintance—someone who used to be a vendor of mine when I held other positions. We became friends through our business dealings. I see her anywhere from 1-3 times during the year at national meetings occasional customer calls. She and another former vendor with whom I’m friendly are hard core republicans. We’ve had many a friendly debate over beers, dinner, emails, with one of my favorite retorts to her being, “At least none of our armed service personnel ever lost their lives because Bill Clinton got a blowjob.

About a year ago, she sent an email to both of us, that really torqued my spark plugs. It had to do with bush, and specifically contained some of his anti-gay rhetoric. It hit me on a particularly bad day—I don’t remember why specifically it was bad, but it was. I sent off a return missive, essentially questioning how she could call me her friend, and vice/versa while supporting these policies in particular which were blatantly discriminatory. (I will note, that she is not married, but is considered ‘common law’, because she’s been living with the same man for many years). I iterated how she had the same rights of marriage without the piece of paper which were specifically being denied gay people. I said a lot more, but this was the primary issue.

I came back to the office last Monday, after being out sick for a week. In going through my emails, there was one forwarded from her, of “22 Ways to be a good Democrat”. I’m not going to list them all here, if someone really wants the list, I’ll email it to you. There were three that made my blood boil, and I know it wasn’t a holdover from the 103° F temperature.

6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial, but being
homosexual is natural.
7. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is
spread by lack of funding/
19. You have to believe that homosexual parades
displaying drag, transvestites, and bestiality should be constitutionally
protected, and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.
It went on to
things from abortion rights, to misogynistic comments, etc.

This is the typical bullshit that is spewed out by those rightwing nuts like chris matthews, ann coulter, etc.

This was the wrong day for me to get this email. (I’m not sure there is a ‘right’ day to receive it. I was pissed, I was disgusted, I was offended . I spend too much of my time and energy combating the ignorance of strangers. I don’t have the energy to combat the ignorance of ‘friends’. I did NOT send off a missive this time. I merely replied with, “Please do NOT send me anything else of this nature.”

The other republican (guy) vendor she sent it to, sent a reply to her initial email with, “Randy!?!?!”, certain that this would hit me where it counts.
I’m struggling with this. A week has passed. My anger has not dissipated. I’m not certain that I can forget this. I fear this may have irreparably damaged the friendship. How do I remain friends with someone who takes pride in an administration and laws whose purposes are to deny me the rights that she is granted by the Constitution; who so vehemently defends the only president in our nation’s history who wants to make an amendment to said constitution with the sole intent of ensuring the denial of civil rights to gay people?

I’m looking for opinions people. What to do? Am I being too sensitive? Do I let this one roll off and go back to before? If I do, am I comprising my integrity? Where do you draw the line? © rle/wtf


kathleen comalli said...

hey randy.. . .

NO. this is not the time to let it roll. in my opinion, your friend has selective perception if she sent you this. the quoted material isn't funny, it's stereotypical, but more than that, it damns whole swaths of people, one of whom she claims as a friend. if it were me i might send an email saying "don't email me anything. ever." and if she cared about me, she'd write back and say either 1. "dude? what's up? did i say something?" or 2. she wouldn't write back and i would learn a lot more about the quality of what she called friendship.

there's a book called "forgiving and not forgiving." don't remember the author, but it's a terrific read. it's an older book.

all the best to you as you struggle with this.


Sid Schwab said...

Easy for me to say, because it's totally theoretical, and I don't know these people at all, nor the importance of your relationship with them. But my reaction is to tell (email?) those people that "some things are so vicious and so untrue as to be deeply offensive, and this list is an example. So rather than arguing each point, I just want to know in what spirit it was sent. If you mistakenly thought it was funny and that I'd find it amusing, I want you to know it wasn't and I didn't. If you sent it because you believe it, then I want you to know how much it hurt me, and I'll leave it up to you to decide if you want to repair the damage."

Or something.

GDad said...

1. Select Dr. Schwab's comment.
2. Ctrl-C.
3. Click in comment box.
4. Ctrl-V.

If these people were family, it might be worth salvaging the relationship, but sometimes giving people the cold shoulder is the only way they'll ever learn.

Marc Acito said...

Push her in front of a bus.

The good news is that Bush and his administration has destroyed the Republic party. Hopefully for at least a generation. In fact, young people who came of voting age during Bush II are far more likely to register or call themselves Democrats than Republics (the opposite was true when Reagan and Bush I were president).

Of course, the best news is that she's on the LOSING side of the argument. And obviously desperately holding on. With attitudes about gays/lesbians changing so quickly among young people, we need only wait for a generation or two to die off before we're assured equality.

That day can't come a moment too soon. Now help me down from this soapbox before I fall and break a hip.

gay CME guy said...

Thanks to all for your comments and suggestions, here and those emailed to me directly. They all helped me:
1) affirming that I wasn't over reacting;
2) giving me good food for thought in how/if to respond.