This is the story about two people and something that is almost unheard of these days. It’s the story about a politically opposite friendship — a conservative and a liberal who don’t agree on anything but still manage to have an amazing friendship.
Our friendship started years ago when President Barack Obama was elected to his second term. I was writing guest columns for The Kansas City Star, and I met Darla, a local radio talk show host, on election night when KMBZ was doing a live feed at a restaurant.
I had been a longtime listener to the Darla Jaye show and even had called in to argue with her on occasion. Darla sat down next to me that night and told me that she was a fan of my columns.
“You are a fan of my columns?” I asked, stunned.
How could a right leaning radio talk show host like my writing? Maybe she wasn’t reading them right? Does she understand that I’m a snarky, liberal blogger? Sure enough, she said she didn’t agree with my columns, but they made her laugh. I shared that I was a fan of her show even though I never agree with her.
We proceeded to have a great conversation about politics, our love of Barbra Streisand and all things Broadway. I couldn’t believe I was having such a fun time talking to this person . Almost all of my friends to that point were liberal so it was unusual that I was having such a great time with someone who was my political opposite.
From there we met for dinner and an amazing friendship developed.
When we would meet we would have the most spirited political conversations. These debates were always entertaining and would involve me yelling at some point, “Seriously?” and her yelling, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Darla decided it would make great radio, and she invited me to be a regular guest on her show.
We traveled together to Ireland a few years ago and had a great time touring a beautiful country, and over there we argued about social issues affecting America, the economy and President Obama. The only difference was we were surrounded by the beautiful Irish countryside and drank a lot of Irish beer.
A few weeks ago we went out with friends. And, yes, we argued about the Ebola crisis and how Obama was handling it — all while enjoying spinach and artichoke dip and cocktails.
It got heated and if you asked either of us which one was right we would both say, “me!” After we left dinner we hugged, said goodbye and thought nothing of the argument.
Why? Because we are friends. She isn’t a terrible person, and I am not a terrible person. She isn’t crazy and I’m not a libtard. We just don’t agree on politics. It’s as simple as that.
When Obama won re-election I gloated, which included a lively victory dance, and when the GOP won the midterms she gloated right back. Neither one of us gets our feelings hurt because in politics we both know that I will win some, and she will win some. That’s how it works.
Why am I sharing this? Because we both think America needs more friendships like this. Politics are so polarizing right now.
It seems that you don’t just disagree with someone politically, but people have to hate each other for it. Political discussions turn into a verbal bloodbath with take-no-prisoner attitudes that end only when the other person is found weeping in the fetal position begging for mercy.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We are an example of that.
We both laugh when people react to us being friends. She hears about it all the time; people can’t believe she is friends with “that liberal.” People are shocked that I’m friends with a conservative. When you both have a love and a respect for politics it’s really easy.
We have a great time debating all the issues, and in the end deep down she knows ... I’m always right.
Aimee Patton of Fairway works in marketing. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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