We hate each other on the internet. How can we be friends in real life?

We hate each other on the internet. How can we be friends in real life?

On here, on Facebook, I am a Hillary shill. I think Trump supporters are idiots at best, dangerous bigots at worst. I believe Hillary's "basket of deplorables" comment was right on, and I wish she hadn't walked it back. I'm scared that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein will be a factor in this election and we'll wind up with a TRUMP sign on the White House. I squawk about politics because politics are everywhere and Game of Thrones is on hiatus.

You consider yourself an old school conservative. You think Hillary Clinton is a she-devil. You believe she is guilty until proven innocent in every area of her existence--from emails to her marriage to the Clinton Foundation to her (failing?) health. You hold her to a higher standard than her opponents, especially Donald Trump. You think Hillary supporters either have the wool pulled over their eyes or are as manipulative and cynical as she so obviously is.

I can't believe you hate Hillary so much you'd risk electing Trump. I hate that you eschew social issues in favor of the economy. You think I am raging liberal who has no idea how democratic policies are sending this country into the toilet.

We wind up at a party together. Over food and drinks we discuss our kids, work, house stuff, whatever. Sitting right there between us is the thing unsaid: I think you're kind of a giant asshole on the internet.

But the night continues. I make you laugh. You recall something sweet/funny from our past, and we share that memory. The topic turns to the Cubs and some new restaurant I think you'd like. We're talking, face-to-face, like human beings. I forget your "Blue Lives Matter" avatar. You forget my knee-jerk raging against the Second Amendment. You are more than your beliefs, and I am more than mine.

Then the TV over the bar flips to the news, and Donald Trump is up on screen, waving around his tiny hands. We look at each other. The elephant is in the room. I say, "I get why you want to vote for Gary Johnson or whoever. I try to think what I'd do if Kanye West were the Democratic nominee and the Republicans were running, like, Dick Cheney. I see your dilemma. I understand it."

You say, "I'm probably going to vote for Hillary, because..." You wave your hand toward the TV, and I nod in understanding. That guy is the worst.

"Even if you don't, though." I shrug. "It's your vote, your decision."

A few minutes later, another friend, Madge, comes over and joins us at the bar. Hillary's up on screen now, and Madge can't even. "I'm voting for Trump. I don't trust Hillary," she says. "I could never vote for her."

"But you trust Donald Trump?" is on the tip of my tongue. I exchange a pained look with you. You see me. You get it. We were doing so well. We were seeing each other as people again, not as two sets of polar-opposite ideals. We'd come so far.

You flag down the bartender and get us another round. Then you hold up your glass and say loudly, drowning out the Trump surrogates on the TV, "So, how 'bout them Cubbies?"

***
I wrote a book! It's YA novel, THE SOUND OF US. You can find the details right here! Kirkus calls it "a winning story about a teenage voice student that hits all the right notes."

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Tags: politics, Trump

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