Search This Blog

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The American Unfriend

My son has a little pal at his kindergarten whose father is American. The mother works at our Ministry of Foreign Relations, and they married while she was serving in the USA.

It naturally did happen that we made friendship with them. Mr. American looks to be a bit of a loner, but maybe because he did not ever learn fluent Portuguese, he looked happy to chat with people speaking his mother language.

We used to meet for dinner or some weekend program now and then, for almost two years, until last November.

In previous conversations about the American elections, while Trump looked to have no chance at all of winning, I used to jokingly tell Mr. American that I very much wanted him to win. It would make the next four years far too much entertaining, it was my argument. Though I am not quite sure he ever got it as a joke, for he used to answer in negative and serious ways about such a terrible hypothesis.

Then Trump won. And the next first time I met Mr. American at our kids school, I've got the strangest reaction I've ever had from a former friend. He looked at my eyes, a mix of bewilderment and fear in his eyes, and told me to not ever - ever - talk to him again. Just like that.

I was taken aback for a while. Not only because I could not see any reason for that, but because of that look he gave me. It was a very strange experience.

Then I understood: it was about Trump. He thought I was a Trumpite, which ironically, I am very much not.

I tell this little story above to ask my American friends here (friends? I don't know anymore with Americans :-), how is it going up there? The last two weeks of the news cycle have been spinning ever so fast about Trump 'scandals', I wonder how are people of different opinions interacting. Or am I the only one being unfriended?

31 comments:

Bret said...

On facebook, I've ended up unfollowing a couple of people because everyday they would post many strongly anti or strongly pro Trump posts (and/or pro or anti Hillary) and I simply got completely tired of it. I'll probably re-follow them in another few months to see if they've moved on a bit.

On a mailing group of MIT fraternity brothers that has being in existence for decades, there is moderate debate but it's remarkably civil. Even the most anti-Trump folk seem to be aware that at least some of the media reports are iffy and even the most pro-Trump folk are more than well aware of the man's numerous flaws and blunders. I don't think the anti-Trump folk hate Trump all that much more than they hated Bush so nothing's really new.

A group of 8 very good college friends (we call ourselves "The Great Guys" and were the foundation of this blog decades ago) has done a vacation together every year for decades. This year is the first year were not getting together and I suspect that it's because Howard and I aren't sufficiently anti-Trump for some of the other guys. That's unfortunate and I'm annoyed since I didn't vote for Trump - I'm just not sufficiently anti-Trump.

I generally try to avoid politics (though not necessarily economics!) when speaking with other friends and associates. I'm perfectly content to listen to people make statements about whatever and keep my poker face on and gently guide the conversation to a different subject if it seems likely to be contentious.

But your story, Clovis, is very sad. That someone couldn't get that you were joking and wasn't a good enough conversationalist to figure that out, and then dropped a friendship without any investigation. He must be either unbelievably distraught, borderline mentally incompetent (insanity-wise), or both. I feel bad for both of you, really.

I hear your story repeated over and over here, but, other than the great guys thing, I haven't really observed it or have been very much impacted by it.

This blog actually reflects my overall experience. Harry and erp are on rather different sides of the Trump/Hillary thing and yet I don't think we're all that much less civil than before the election.

erp said...

Clovis, thanks for taking Mr. American off our hands. I've heard of people getting divorced over Trump and it's not always possible to have a discussion about the pros and cons of two undesirable candidates and which is the least worst option.

I think the problem is the media which is constantly skewering information to move along the narrative. Most people don't know or care enough to figure out things for themselves, nor do they have the historical perspective to, well, put things in perspective.

Most of the "stuff" being thrown against the wall, won't stick, but by the time that's known, new allegations, etc. will be in the headlines.

Mr. American is probably feeling rather the opposite of macho and is being laughed at as taking the inferior role to his wife by her colleagues and friends.

Bret, I am not pro Trump although I did vote him because he wasn't Hillary and there was hope he could become the conservative that I am looking for. Hillary was totally out of the question and IMO a much worse person and candidate than Nixon and as I did with Nixon, voted for his opponent, the mutton-headed, George McGovern.

I think Harry supported Bernie Sanders.

Harry Eagar said...

Like everything else you think, erp, you're wrong.

Certainly, I am tremendously enjoying the suicide of the right. I hope, though, that the Republicans don't wake up in time to save their rotten party but go down with Trump. I don't think any of them have the stones or the brains to help themselves.

I was unfriended back in August by a Bernie Bro but have not had any feedback of that sort since. We find some of or furthest right friends congenial because they are not racists. (If they were we'd have 86'd them long before the ascendancy of Trump.)

Clovis, the large majority of Americans are, as always, politically inert. They'd rather gossip about their health or their grandchildren.

Trump is (like McCarthy) the end product of mobocracy that elitists have been warning about since Alcibiades. So far, mobocracy has not had staying power in Ameria.

erp said...

Harry, you haven't said what I'm wrong about? Did you not support Sanders?

As for the suicide of the fascists,i.e., Soros et al., I'm surprised we can agree on this. Only Margaret Hamilton's famous melt down scene can rival the media's hysterics abetted by lefty politicians practically foaming at the mouth. Accusations and counter accusations with nothing sticking doesn't stop them.

Reminds me of Gulliver and the Lilliputians and if I recall, it doesn't end well for them.

Harry Eagar said...

No, I didn't support Sanders

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,


I agree, it was a sad situation, though I may say that yours is pretty sad too - Mr. American was in that friendship status one notch or two above acquaintances, while you are talking about 8 very real friends not meeting because of politics.

But I am relieved to hear you too think that story was sad. What he did is, to all standards of culture I better know (Brazilian or German), pretty bizarre. But I was asking myself if that could be normal for US standards. I am happy to know it is not.


erp said...

Harry, whom did you support then? I don't remember you rhapsodizing about Hillary.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Mr. American is probably feeling rather the opposite of macho and is being laughed at as taking the inferior role to his wife by her colleagues and friends.
---
Always connecting the dots, aren't you?

I guess not every man knows how to deal with being the stay at home parent.

I once tried to arrange for a temporary position for him in the University, since he has a major in English, and the language department certainly could use a native speaker for classes. They accepted him, but unfortunately could not offer any payment at the moment, so he didn't go on with the trial.

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

---
Clovis, the large majority of Americans are, as always, politically inert. They'd rather gossip about their health or their grandchildren.
---

That used to be true about Brazil too. And nowadays I kind of miss those days.

We are back at impeachment level - the news may not be reaching the US yet, but major developments will make our President to fall soon (and if he doesn't, things may get even messier).

The political divide of the last 2 or 3 years has been pretty tough for many friendship/family circles down here.

I predict yours will get harsher and harsher too.

erp said...

Clovis, yes. It's a heavy cross to bear and I'd be happy to be without it.

I'm not surprised Mr. American, the rabid lefty, didn't accept an unpaid appointment. They're all about money and status and don't care much for actual accomplishment or helping others -- unless it's to redistribute what others earn, of course.

Sorry to hear about more turmoil in your neck of the woods. I hope you are somewhat protected at the university.

As more and more of the mud slinging continues to miss the mark, chances are it will begin backfiring big time. Europe can't continue as it is.

The French have gone beyond parody with a boy-toy in the palace. Frau Merkel can't keep the lid on the mayhem indefinitely, ditto the Norse countries. Rotterdam is already the second largest Turkish city.

The Balkans continue to play their part as the crazy aunt in the attic (apparently there will be unwelcome news from Albania, if my relatives there prove correct in their analysis).

The Ruskies? Anybody's guess and Spengler got poisoned while eating at a restaurant in Iceland!!!!!!!!!!!

Harry Eagar said...

Not a lot of detail in coverage of Brazil here but the top points come through. My take: like a lot of countries, Brazil is still feeling the drawbacks from not redistributing agricultural land.

Too many people with nothing to lose.

The Reaganites are leading America down a similar path.

erp said...

Harry, you are a stitch. :-)

We invented distributing the land and Brazil and other countries would have done well to have done the same. What are you talking about? To whom should we be redistributing the land in today's world when small family farms can't compete with International Harvesters? Why not take your delirium to the Hawaiian potentates and have them distribute the land there and then get back to us.

Hey Skipper said...

Clovis:

In the aftermath of Trump's election, I have had several people put me on FB disregard, all because I'm not sufficiently anti-Trump. My sin has been to criticize utter fabrications that the MSM has leveled against him. Insisting upon intellectual integrity is enough, apparently, to get written off.

[Bret:] Harry and erp are on rather different sides of the Trump/Hillary thing and yet I don't think we're all that much less civil than before the election.

I disagree. There was no political violence following Obama's election. There sure as heck is now. And the MSM has gone right over the deep end. David Leonhardt, the NYT Opinion section editor, has gone right around the bend. Because I subscribe to that damn paper, I get weekly Op-Ed updates. Whereupon I get to read disgusting fabrications; he is very much like Harry in that regard: makes libelous accusations that he couldn't possibly back up if pressed.

And because I also subscribe to the WSJ, I am able to sample comment threads on identical topics. One thing is clear: progressives have gone into the full spittle-flecked mode. It isn't unusual to read a comment advocating Trump, or Trump and his family, or everyone who voted for Trump to be killed.

Kind of like fascists. No, exactly like fascists.

Harry Eagar said...

I do not believe you have read any comments at the Times advocating killing Trump. Not that no one entered one but it wouldn't pass moderation.

There was political violence (and more than now) following Obama's election; you just have a short memory.

'Whereupon I get to read disgusting fabrications'

You mean like Michelle Obama is a man? You have a short memory.

Hey Skipper said...

I do not believe you have read any comments at the Times advocating killing Trump. Not that no one entered one but it wouldn't pass moderation.

Well, I only have first hand knowledge to go on, so you must be right.

I flagged the comment, BTW.

(To be entirely honest, I overegged my comment a bit. Progressives have, indeed, gone into the full spittle-flecked mode. It is not usual to read comments advocating bad things happening to Trump. That said, the tenor of the NYT comments is, compared to those on similar WSJ stories, often deranged.)

There was political violence (and more than now) following Obama's election; you just have a short memory.

Without a cite, I don't believe you.

You mean like Michelle Obama is a man? You have a short memory.

You are right, I have entirely forgotten about the editorial page of an MSM outlet suggesting Michelle Obama is a man. I'm sure you can provide a link to such a thing to refresh my memory for me.

Unless, of course, you are comparing soup to nuts.

erp said...

Harry, please provide some evidence that Obama's election caused the violence and vileness that Trump's election has caused among all levels of leftiness including the elite media, elected officials, students and professors at elite institutions of high learning, etc. with police being told to "stand down" while invited speakers are attacked and other daily horror shows.

The only thing I remember is Limbaugh saying he hopes Obama fails and for which he was roundly castigated.

I also hoped Obama would fail -- politically and he sure did, however, I don't care which among the 51 mix and match sexual identities he or his wife is comfortable.

Hey Skipper said...

erp, forget about it.

Harry is, in his own mind, omniscient.

erp said...

... oh Harry, I forgot ... if Michelle Robinson Obama were a man who identified as a woman, would that be a problem for you?

erp said...

Awwwwwww, Skipper, do I hafta? Riposte with Harry and his cohort is the most fun I'm allowed in my golden years.

BTW does everyone know that Comey is 6'8 and tried to hide behind the drapes in the oval office so Trump wouldn't single him out to talk to.

The Director of the FBI thinks this kind of behavior is not only appropriate, but effective. I'd love to see that on SNL with Chevy Chase playing the part.

Hey Skipper said...

erp, IMHO, Trump completely gooned up firing Comey. If he had a lick of sense, he would have brought in the congressional majority and minority leaders, and told them what he was going to do, and ask them for replacement recommendations.

As it happens, I think (pun impossible to avoid) the accusations of collusion or improper contact with the Russians is completely trumped up. The NYT has been shamelessly flogging that dog of a story without a shred of evidence to back it up, whilst on the same page excoriating Trump for baseless accusations.

That doesn't excuse Trump. He has a world historical opportunity to clear the swamp, which he is on the verge of wrecking every other time he opens his mouth, or tweets.

And it sure as hell doesn't excuse the MSM. I hang my head in shame whenever I remember that at one time I wanted to be a journalist.

erp said...

Skipper, Trump is our only hope. If he can pull this off, move over biblical champions and Olympic heroes ... and maybe I'll even become a believer in divine destiny.

Harry Eagar said...

'accusations of collusion or improper contact with the Russians is completely trumped up.'

Read today's papers. And listen to Trump's sons.


Hey Skipper said...

Harry, are you too stupid to provide links?

Hey Skipper said...

Harry.

erp said...

Harry and his cohort can't deal with the fact that

TRUMP IS THE PRESIDENT.

... and has the power and duty to deal with foreign affairs as he sees fit because

TRUMP IS THE PRESIDENT.

... and makes the decisions about classified information because

TRUMP IS THE PRESIDENT.

Get it Harry.

... and if anything happens to Trump, the Vice-President, a real conservative, will be

THE PRESIDENT,

so if you guys were smart, you'd make very sure Trump remains in good heath because, you really won't like it if VP Pence becomes

PRESIDENT PENCE.

Hey Skipper said...

erp for the win.

Harry Eagar said...

erp prefers the fascist. erp worships power and disregards constitutions and principles. Not a win in my book

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "We [Brazil] are back at impeachment level..."

The last coupla days here makes me think we're at the coup level. It looks like Trump will be forced out. A special prosecutor with broad discretion, no real limits on how he investigates, and no hard time limit can always find something.

They may not actually remove him from office, but they just effectively (mostly) shut him down.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper, that comment of mine about not "much less civil" was made in reference to civility about the blog, not the US (or world) as a whole.

Hey Skipper said...

Bret -- sorry, I misread that.

Although in the more local realm, Harry, while never firmly seated, has gone right off his rocker since the election, as evidenced by the nearly non-stop stream of flagrantly baseless assertions and vile personal attacks.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper wrote: "...nearly non-stop stream of flagrantly baseless assertions and vile personal attacks."

I hadn't really noticed a big change. To me, Harry is Harry and has always been Harry.

I generally have no problem with "flagrantly baseless assertions." It's always nice to know what others believe and I just patiently point them out. And Harry hasn't been attacking me (or I'm too thick skinned or distracted to notice) so maybe I've just missed the "vile personal attacks." Sticks and stones and all that...