I try not to refuse to associate with people whose political and/or religious beliefs are opposed to mine. I think it's important to remain open to at least considering other positions, and that's less likely to happen if I'm surrounded only by people who agree with me about everything. But right now I'm having a serious moral dilemma: Where do I draw the line between beliefs I can handle and those I can't?
Can I honestly, in good faith, remain friends with people who support Donald Drumpf and those like him? This feels like it goes beyond a "tolerable" amount of racism and bigotry. I hate to even think of any amount of racism and bigotry as tolerable, but don't we all have a handful of old friends or family members that we can't bear to cut out of our lives entirely, who occasionally say racist things or trash other religions without providing any reasoning? We hear what they say and cringe, maybe even argue with them, but we continue to associate with them because we love them, right? In some cases, maybe we designate "off-limits" topics because we know that we'll get angry at each other if they come up in conversation.
At first I even accepted that some of the people I care about were Drumpf fans. But the longer this campaign goes on, the more offensive, dangerous, and frightening his statements become, and I feel like we're at a point now where it's no longer okay by any stretch of the imagination to support this man. I can understand why there's a certain appeal to what he's saying. Whereas a lot of his initial offensive comments seemed to be more like off-the-cuff assholery, now it seems like he's starting to phrase things in a manner that sounds juuuust "reasonable" enough to appeal to scared white people, particularly those who are privileged and/or ignorant enough to consider themselves immune to the consequences of electing morally bankrupt lawmakers.
But… I'm a scared white person too, and I reject this, because what he's saying isn't actually reasonable! I paid attention in school when we learned about how the Nazis came to power, and I paid attention when we learned about the Japanese-American internment camps. And after 9/11, I knew this kind of rhetoric was on the horizon for us; even as a teenager I knew it was just a matter of time. And I don't understand how any decent human being can stick their head in the sand and pretend it's okay to follow politicians who base their campaigns around fascism. Even if these turn out to be empty campaign promises, how can a decent person vote for someone who calls for special IDs and state-sponsored harassment of a religious group? No matter how scared they are, how is that acceptable to them?
I don't think that I have too many friends who still support him, but there is one really vocal person in particular that I'm having a great deal of anguish about, a friend of mine from high school. We're polar opposites about a lot of political issues that are important to me, but I've always known him to be a good and kind person in spite of our opposing views. After the attacks on Beirut and Paris, I posted a Facebook status saying that we should all remember that extremists aren't representative of all Muslims, and he was one of the first to like and agree with the post. But he accepts Drumpf's fascist hate speech because he believes that while Drumpf's remarks are "worrisome" (or something to that effect), he's also the only one who will "do what needs to be done" to keep us safe.
I'm just… I'm ill about this. I'm increasingly reaching a point where I just can't view this kind of conservative as a good person, no matter how much I care about them. If you're kind to me but you view others as second-class citizens who deserve to be branded and surveilled just because they nominally share a religion with some extremists, well then, maybe you aren't really that good of a person? I don't see these people calling for similar scrutiny of Christians, even though a person in America is statistically much more likely to get killed by a terrorist who is a white Christian. They recognize that those Christian terrorists aren't representative of the rest of Christendom; shouldn't it stand to reason that Islam is the same way?
I just don't know how to handle this. I've now established that yeah, unfortunately, maybe I do think some of my friends are kind of bad people, despite how kind they've been to me. But should I unfriend them on Facebook and cut them off entirely? Should I continue to post about what I believe is right and hope they'll come around? I kind of want to start a discussion on Facebook, but something about Facebook seems to make people lose their ability to have a rational discussion, and I know I would just get accused of acting childish, being ignorant, and trying to start drama. I feel like the truly responsible thing to do is to talk about this… to stop looking the other way when our friends say unacceptable things (or support those who do)… but I really, really hate debates and conflict, and I'm afraid of the social backlash I could get for bringing this discussion to Facebook.