Lim: Beyond politics

Elections can be divisive. But as all my friendships survived the 2016 elections, I’m going to stay hopeful they will also survive the 2022 elections.My friends and I never discuss who we are voting for. It’s almost as if during each election, we simply put into motion our unspoken no-proselytizing rule as a gesture of respect for each person’s choice.With social media now, however, our hearts are up on our walls so our choices are implicit without specifically stating who our hearts beat for. Up until today, though, I have not lost any friends because of politics. And I want to keep it that way.My mother used to tell me that in politics, there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests. I think that is sad. But perhaps, that is reality—the reality for those who wish to make politics their life.Well, I decided early on—I did not want that kind of reality in my life.With social media, people are more vocal with their thoughts. I think it is everyone’s right to say what they want on their walls. But is it everyone’s right to respond in any manner they see fit? I don’t believe so.In fact, I think it is every person’s responsibility to think before they respond or to actually hold back when a response serves no purpose except to add fuel to the fire—unless of course, you want to start a wildfire that will eventually burn all your friendships down. But why?We may not agree with our friends’ thoughts but we can agree to respect whatever they write on their walls. Their thoughts may run contrary to ours and that can be extremely triggering but is that really a personal attack? No. So, let it go.A lot of unfriending happens around elections and that is why we have to be more discriminating before we click the ACCEPT button.Because within our circle of “real friends,” a difference of presidential candidate may annoy us, infuriate us or even provoke us to say some nasty words we will later regret but it won’t cause us to unfriend them in real life. Forever.Elections are over. The real work starts now—not just for the elected officials but also for the electorate.I reiterate what I said two weeks ago. Leaders can be lauded and looked up to but they are not to be worshipped like gods who can do no wrong. After election into office, we should continue to be able to see through the faults and failings of those to whom we have given our vote, trust and favor.Give credit where it is due. Do not be blind to the flaws of those you look up to. Stop fabricating accomplishments that are not really there. Stop worshipping false gods. Start loving your country. Now.My friends and I, many of whom I’ve known since kindergarten, don’t talk about politics. And perhaps, that is why we are still friends until now.