Jack Ohman

After this election will we be able to rebuild friendships?

As this dismal swamp of an election reaches the end of the drain, no matter what the outcome, this country has gone through a national trauma.

One of the main things that Donald Trump has begotten us is strained relationships of all kinds.

Every single person I have spoken with has noted that they are no longer talking to their idiot brother-in-law, friend from high school, crazy uncle, dopey cousin, current wife or ex-girlfriend. The strain Trump has placed on friendships is incalculable.

Whatever Facebook’s metric for unfriending or blocking is, well, I hope it doesn’t affect its stock price.

I have to confess that I have unfriended. I have blocked. I have been unfriended. I have been blocked. Sometimes by people I care about, sometimes, not so much. You want to live in 1933 Germany? Not me.

All of us have had very unpleasant personal interactions that, frankly, would not have happened if Mitt Romney or Joe Biden had been the presidential nominees. A theoretical Romney victory would not have merited anything other than a small nod, and Biden winning would, I suspect, been greeted the same way. Meh. Wait ’til next time. The republic endures. Have a beer. Hand me the remote.

Except this election, I wonder what that republic is going to look like with either outcome.

Friendships have a certain tensile strength, depending. Family is a harder bond to break, but I have heard anecdote after anecdote of people getting into all sorts of July 4th picnic altercations at their sister’s house.

How we define friendship as adults is probably not based on the same criteria we have as children. I find it easier to look away from the views of people I have known for 40 years than I do people who friended me two weeks ago to burp on my Facebook page.

The trouble is, people who you like or even love are the reason life is tolerable. I have many friends who I don’t agree with, and I am sure they see the same things in me.

One of my very good friends who I shall not name here is someone I’ve gone on weeklong fishing trips without a hitch, but I noticed we are both avoiding discussing the election. Mutual fishing trips are heavily commented upon.

Are there mitigating factors in any political decision? Sure. I am probably more forgiving of a friend who says, well, I was for John Kasich then they threw up this idiot, but I hate the Clintons. Noted. But the Clintons are not lunatics. If Kasich became president, I am pretty sure I would not be arrested in the middle of the night. Trump? I’m not sure.

Nothing he says gives me any reason to think he’s reliable. I’ve also read that he has no close personal friends. Just business partners. I think that lack of real friendships says something about a person.

When America votes, I hope that afterward we can at least keep the temperature level down to the point where people can rebuild their families and friendships. I know that sometimes things get said and done that can’t be repaired, and I can accept that, too.

But if Trump is doing this to the country before the election, imagine what he’ll do to us after.

Jack Ohman: 916-321-1911, @JACKOHMAN

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