By Gary W. Moore
It’s election season and the mass “unfriending” has begun. Friend against friend and family member against family member arguments are in full bloom and potentially creating relationship damage that may extend far past election season. I grew up believing in the old adage, “Blood is thicker than water” and I always believed that friendships should be forever. I’m wondering … “When did our political ideology become more important than our relationship with family and friends and our love for each other?
Relationships are important to me. There isn’t an election nor any life event that would cause me to unfriend a friend or disown a family member. My love for those I care about transcends who they vote for. Because you believe something different does not mean you are my enemy. It just means we disagree. No problem. Some people like pepperoni on their pizza while others prefer sausage. Why is that different than one person is voting for Biden while another is voting for Trump? I’m not making light of the weight of the voting decision but am saying disagreeing on an election should not be relationship damaging. Why should a disagreement negatively impact the love we feel for one another?
I’m hearing with great regularity how families are being torn apart by this election and this pandemic. I heard recently about how a friend posted a very passive comment about the current state of the nation and then was attacked publicly online by her daughter. Are you kidding me? Shame on anyone who will publicly scorn a loved one because they see things differently! I sadly heard this morning of a son who told his parents over the weekend, “You are dead to me!” Really? Over political differences?
What has happened to us?
Look no further than the great mask debate. I believe wearing a mask in public protects others. There are no absolutes and masks are not foolproof. Common sense tells me that anything that reduces the amount of mouth aerosol into the air cuts down on the risk of transmission. I posted this online and was attacked by others. I won’t repeat the name-calling, but here’s some of what I was told …
“What’s wrong with you? Forcing me to wear a mask is a violation of my rights.”
There’s nothing wrong with me but I’m curious about everyone else’s rights not to breathe your spray. Do we not have rights?
“You of all people (meaning me) should know better! Little children get their emotional cues from your facial expressions.”
Me of all people? Well, don’t wear a mask at home, but until we get control of this pandemic, it won’t hurt you or your children to make a small sacrifice. In fact, I think it’s a great opportunity for a learning experience for our kids. Maybe teach them about social responsibility?
“This is all a government conspiracy to take away my rights.”
Maybe I’m in the dark, but I don’t believe there’s a government conspiracy to take away anyone’s rights in this case.
Here’s my favorite …
“A mask only protects you from me. It is not for my protection, so why should I wear one?”
Again … When did we stop caring about each other? I willingly wear a mask to protect you. Why would you not do the same for me? Have we really become that selfish?
And before you send me a study saying masks don’t work, be aware there are a plethora of studies saying they do. I think the best sources I’ve read say masks are not foolproof but will provide a 65% reduction in the chances to transmit or catch the virus. I think 65% is well worth the inconvenience of wearing a mask in public.
My faith tells me that the greatest commandment is to love each other as we love ourselves. I don’t think it means we should only love those who vote as we do or agree with our opinions. I don’t think it means I shouldn’t wear a mask to protect others, even if it doesn’t protect me. It means exactly as it says. We are to love each other as we love ourselves.
I love you enough to wear a mask in public. Won’t you do the same for me?
Life is too precious and so very fragile. We have no guarantees for tomorrow. Can’t we choose to love our neighbor while we are here?
Will you join me?
Submitted by Gary W. Moore who is a freelance columnist, speaker, and author of three books including the award-winning, critically acclaimed, “Playing with the Enemy.” Follow Gary on Twitter @GaryWMoore721 and at www.garywmoore.com