Dear Ann Cannon • I have a friend who loves our current president; I do not even like to say his name. We have been friends all of our lives. She has daughters, and when I asked her how she would feel if a man thought he could put his hands down their pants just because he thought it was his right as a rich, white man, OMG! She went crazy berserk! I admit that I can push buttons when I start talking politics, so maybe that berserk thing goes both ways.
I do love this friend very much, and I want to make things right. I wonder if maybe we should just not see each other for a while; that makes me sad. But I do not understand her point of view, and it seems impossible to have a conversation about all the stuff that is going on. What should I do?
— Another Citizen Going Crazy
Dear Citizen • Here’s the really short answer to your question: Don’t discuss politics with this friend for now. Instead, choose to focus on the things you have in common — or at least on subjects that aren’t so fraught.
A woman recently told me that the reason she and her best friend are still best friends — even though she loves Trump and her friend loathes him — is that they have tacitly agreed not to talk about him. They recognize that they consume different media accounts of this presidency and that they’re not likely to change one another’s minds anyway. They also believe their friendship is MUCH more important than Donald Trump, even though Donald Trump himself would undoubtedly disagree. Meanwhile, reach out to your friend instead of avoiding her. Let her know how much you care about her personally and put politics on the shelf for now.
Which brings me to these questions for our readers. Is it even possible to have civil discussions in this era of fractious politics? What tips do you have for discussing politics productively with people who reside in a different place than you do on the political spectrum? Please share.
Dear Ann Cannon • Jon Huntsman Jr. has officially declared his candidacy for governor. As a staunch Democrat of 55 years, how do I make a decision? I see this man as one of the best governors in my time.
— Help Me!
Dear Help Me • My mother, a free-thinking former rodeo queen from Big Piney (“The Icebox of the Nation”), Wyoming, routinely gives much better advice than I do, so I’m going to tell you what she always tells me: Pick the person, not the party, yo.
Except she doesn’t say “yo.”
I hope this helps.
Dear Tribune readers • You may remember the letter from a former Scouter who wonders what to do with all those abandoned Scout uniforms beyond just sending them to the Deseret Industries now that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is no longer a BSA sponsor. Girl Scout leader Pam Carson suggested donating “experienced” uniforms to Scouting troops near you which can be found at the website BeAScout.org. The owner, she notes, “might want to remove the patches from the shirt as they may be special to that Scouter and historic patches are worth money.”
Thank you, Pam, for this information.