Know When and Why to Let Certain People Go

Posted: November 3, 2018 in Life, Politics

Let Go

I’ve said for years now that there were some social and political matters that were absolutely not worth cutting people off or out of your life for. Some of the things I said you shouldn’t cut people off or out of your life for might surprise some people.

I’ve said for years now that I’ve learned from experience that people change. I’ve had friends who were bigoted against blacks, Asians, Hispanics, immigrants, homosexuals, trans individuals, part of partnerships that were not what they viewed as the norm, etc. at one point in their life who changed as time went by. A part of it was because they went off and started living a life where they started frequently encountering in their day to day job/life the very same people they spit venom at and otherwise avoided in prior years. They discovered that “those people” weren’t whatever they thought they were and were in fact just other people; most often very good people.

A part of some of that discovery was, as I’ve often said, they weren’t cut off and abandoned to the echo chamber of having only or mostly just other bigots in their lives. They had other people in their lives who were not bigoted and who saw some good in them and saw the value in spending the time to bring out their better nature and watch them shed the bigotry they had been raised in and raised to believe. Bigotry is, after all, learned behavior. The best thing about learned behavior is that it can be unlearned.

As I’ve said over the years, I was around those people. I was there as one of the sounding boards who didn’t hold a bigoted view towards various groups. I was there to see them discover that, hey, these are just other people and some very cool people to have as close friends. It was, I’ve said for years, worth it.

But, I’ve come to realize a problem with this. I’ve realized that I’ve said for years now that I’ve said this for years now, and I’ve just kept saying it for years out of habit. I haven’t been saying it for years now. I’ve been saying it for decades now.

Most of the people I’ve talked about who changed did so when they were going from their late teens and entering into their early or mid-twenties. Some of the people I’ve long talked about where moving from their mid-twenties into their early thirties. They were also my age or close to it when they made those changes in their life.

This is November. While I won’t quite yet hit 50 this month, I’ll hit an age where 50 isn’t that far down the road from where I’m at. There are a few more exits in between here and 50, but I can see it clearly down the road and coming fast. That means I haven’t had a close friend in my life who has gone through that change in almost twenty years, and, actually, most of them who went through that change borne of self-discovery did so more than twenty years ago.

While I do make some new friends every year who are anywhere from ten years younger than me to less than half my age, most of them don’t hold the views about various groups that some I knew growing up through the 1970s and 1980s and 1990s did. Most the other people I know who are closer to my age (give or take a decade) and come into my life in the last ten to fifteen years are pretty much set in their ways. Most people reaching my age are more or less locked on certain courses, and they are more likely to simply go further along that road than they are to take the first exit they can and start down an entirely new road.

If you’re in your forties or your fifties and still a bigot, you’re likely staying that way.

Maybe this is simply my own personal failing, but I’m simply too tired to deal with you anymore. I am too tired to continue being a sounding board while hoping that you change or waiting for you to change course as you simply drive further down the road you’re on.

I’m not doing it anymore. I don’t care how long I’ve known you, and I don’t care if you’re just a friend or family by blood or by marriage, I’m simply not doing it anymore. I have too many friends at this point in my life who are black, Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, Muslim, homosexual, trans, or in swinging relationships, polyamory relationships, monogamous relationships, etc., and I value what they all bring into my life more than I value the potential chance that you might stop being a bigot.

This is especially true in the era of Trump, an era where so many seem so much more comfortable to be open and out there with their bigotry.

I don’t expect everyone I know to be comfortable with and completely accepting of everyone else I know. For some men and women of a certain age, there will likely always be some discomfort they can’t properly identify or eliminate from their basic makeup when they find themselves around homosexuals or trans individuals. There are people that will never be fully accepting of other religions or fully comfortable with everything someone from another country or ethnicity brings to the public square.

The truth is no one really needs to be completely accepting of everyone else and everything else. It’s probably not a possibility for anyone. Something is going to bug you about something and someone at some point, and it may be something you never shake. But there’s a huge difference between not fully accepting something or someone and actively spewing hate about it or towards them.

If you regularly say bigoted things because you think it’s clever to conflate being gay or trans with being a pedophile while advocating for or supporting laws that discriminate against those groups or want to legislate them into a legal non-existence… Go. I don’t need you in my life.

If you feel the need to hatefully attack people’s faith because it’s not that of the Christian variety… Go. I don’t need you in my life.

If you feel that the color of your skin makes you superior to someone else… Go. I don’t need you in my life.

If you have started espousing more and more ideas and positions that are little different than those that come from avowed white nationalists and white supremacists… Go. I don’t need you in my life.

If you can’t handle the idea that somewhere out there two or three or four or more consenting adults are doing things in their bedrooms that you would never do and feel the need to constantly attack them for it and/or support bigoted laws against them even though it has no real impact on your life in any way, shape, or form other than you simply knowing they exist… Go. I don’t need you in my life.

I’m tired of waiting for you to grow up and stop being a childish bigot. I’m tired of telling you you’re wrong about people in my life who bring more of value than your bigotry brings to it only to have you seemingly double down on your bigotry. I’m not doing it anymore. You’ve chosen your path and I’ve chosen mine, and the two roads do not intersect down the way a bit.  

As I said once already, I don’t care how long I’ve known you, and I don’t care if you’re just a friend or you’re family by blood or by marriage. I’m tired of the hate you bring into my life directed at people who I value more than you at this point and who do not bring the type of hate into my life directed at others the way you do.

You have no intention of changing at this point. You’ve made that clear. Again, maybe it’s a personal failing with me, but I’m not changing on this at this point in my life either. So, best for all of us involved that you go. I don’t need you in my life, and you probably don’t need me in yours.

If you’re still younger than me by a good bit, realize these two things.

(1) It’s worth the effort. Some people will change. They will become better people. It’s worth the effort and the wait to see it happen.

(2) There is going to come a time when people stop changing in that way, and simply go deeper into being whatever they have become over the decades that came before and shaped them. Know when that time comes, and know when the weight of their words and actions against the others in your life tip the scales too far. Know when you may have to cut people loose, because it may be better for all involved.

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