Wissot: Don’t let politics poison your holiday eggnog
I should have known better. I should have thought more carefully before I posted it on Facebook. I really wasn’t trying to fan the flames of partisan politics or get into a tit for tat besting match with people on social media. I detest that brand of foolishness. It’s why I never post online any of the columns I’ve written for this paper
I posted my oldest daughter’s review of the recently released Alex Gibney documentary film “Totally Under Control” which is highly critical of the president’s handling of the pandemic. I posted it because she’s a freelance journalist who reviews documentaries and interviews documentarians for several film magazines. She sent me her review and it was so well written that as a proud papa I wanted to share it with my friends on Facebook.
I wanted to showcase her writing talents, not broadcast my dim view of the president. I get ample opportunities to do that on the pages of this paper. But I should have anticipated how it might be interpreted. By posting her review which praised Gibney’s film, I permitted readers on Facebook to think I was endorsing his film’s criticism of the president.
I learned that too late when two old and trusted friends took me to task online for posting my daughter’s review. One of them my wife Alyn and I have known for over 25 years, and the other who I will call Sue, because that is her name, went to high school with me some 60 years ago.
I spent a few days contemplating how I wanted to respond to them. What I decided to do was reply in a post how much I loved them and how little desire I had to let politics get in the way of friendships that have enriched my life and endured for so long. I meant every word of it.
I think political arguments in general, but especially with regard to this president, are absolutely pointless and harmful when engaged in by family members and close friends
What you think of Trump or what I think of Trump doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to anyone but you and me. The only thing that mattered, the only thing that counted, the only thing that impacted the real world, was your vote and my vote on Nov. 3rd. Everything else was white noise and boisterous bluster.
Political discussion in a society that cannot reach agreement on a common set of facts is a colossal waste of time. If you read the online commentary after political opinion columns in this paper are posted, you realize that the constant trading of insults doesn’t change the cemented weekly opinions of the same feuding participants. It is a totally inane exercise in self righteous exhaustion.
The people we love are more important than the opinions we hate. Another good friend of ours who I will call Jeanne because that is her name joined us one evening to watch the movie version of the long-running Broadway musical “Cats.” I loved the stage production when it came to Denver. The placement of the company of costumed cats on a starkly bare stage was brilliantly designed. And the music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber was hauntingly beautiful.
But I felt the movie version was terrible. All the intimacy of the theater production got lost on the big screen and the music which I so loved was overshadowed and upstaged by what I felt was silly slapstick comedy. When I left the theater I let it be known that I thought the movie stunk. Jeanne on the other hand loved it and said so with firm conviction.
So there you have it. Two friends see the same movie and have dramatically different opinions of it. I didn’t understand why she loved it and she didn’t understand why I hated it. And neither of us ever will. But who cares. All I know is I love Jeanne, who has been a blessed friend for 30 years even if her taste in movies leaves a lot to be desired.
Would I feel the same way if our difference of opinion involved politics instead of movies? Yes, but only if we agreed to disagree and not talk about politics. If she was a Trump supporter (for the record, she isn’t), I could no more convince her that he is a no-good scoundrel than I could persuade her that the “Cats” movie was god-awful. The good news is that I don’t have to do either. Cats and Trump don’t matter to me as much as Jeanne does.
Please keep that thought in mind this holiday season when you’re slurping eggnog with your right wing Uncle Charlie and your lefty Aunt Louise.
Jay Wissot is a resident of Denver and Vail. Email him at email@example.com.
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