It’s election season. It’s the craziest most divisive election in my memory anyway. Friendships are suffering and being destroyed. Families are choosing sides with children not speaking with their siblings and even their parents.
Two of our very good friends are Republicans. They’re also pretty conservative Christians. We have them over for dinner. The wise thing to do is to avoid the topics of religion and politics when in the company of people you know don’t share your views. But, after a couple of bottles of wine, we dive right into it. We discuss Trump and what he’s doing to the Republican Party. We discuss Hillary and the emails and Benghazi. We then get into religion. Is being gay a choice? Does God condemn people to eternal hell? Should the Bible be taken literally?
This turns into a 7-hour conversation. They arrive at 6. We open a bottle of wine. I finish preparing dinner and we sit down to eat around 7. At 1 o’clock and 5 bottles of wine later, we get up from the table. We don’t agree on everything. We don’t agree on a lot. But, by the process of the conversation, we find we do agree on more than we might have thought had we not had the conversation. When the night is over we all talk about how it’d be great it everyone could find someone on the “other side” to sit down and talk with like this. We’d find we all want the same things really. We’d find we probably have more in common than we think we do. And we’d find that maybe the other person’s beliefs aren’t as crazy as we thought they were.
Our friends are lifelong Republicans and they’re in a very difficult place right now. They don’t (or didn’t) feel comfortable voting for Hillary. They couldn’t name specifics, but there’s just “something” with the emails and something with Benghazi that they know she did wrong. I granted them the email thing. Hillary did make a mistake with that. She has taken responsibility and apologized. On Benghazi, I pressed them hard, though. There’s just something she didn’t do in the middle of the night to save the people at the embassy. But, as Secretary of State, what could or should she have done? No one has an answer. I gave them the Betty Bowers parable of the bruised apple and the rotten banana. You go to the grocery store to get some fruit. There on the shelf is a bruised banana and an orange that is totally rotten. What you really want is a perfect banana, but there are no bananas. You can choose the bruised apple or you can choose the rotten orange. If you don’t choose, someone else will choose the rotten orange, you’ll be forced to eat it and everybody will get sick. I think they’re going to choose the bruised apple.
These are the types of conversations I enjoy having, digging into real issues with people who are willing to go deep and talk about the things that matter. And, when we can do it across religious and political divides, all the better. Rodney King would be proud. Yes, we can all just get along.