i’ve been thinking a lot on the nature of friendship, especially with the political upheaval in the US that’s coming to a head.
i’ve talked a few times about my friend M. she’s had a rough couple of years, mostly health- and family-wise. late last year, we actually talked politics for the first time since probably high school. she’s a devout Republican, which is fine. whatever. she’s allowed her political views.
yesterday i had a call from her, catching me up on the latest health stuff, then drifted toward politics again. she doesn’t agree with our governor, saying that he’s riling people up and being an alarmist. i said that i was thankful we had a governor who was taking this pandemic seriously.
she talked about how unfair it was to small businesses that they had to keep closing, because that’s peoples’ livelihood. i agreed, but added that if we had just followed the lead of Australia or New Zealand and paid people to stay home, we could also have a zero infection rate. then i mentioned that universal basic income would help ease a lot of the strain people are under, since they wouldn’t have to worry about making rent/buying food/gas/necessities.
she isn’t for universal income, because it will destroy the “work ethic, and people will stop working because they don’t need to.” because in North Korea, where everyone is paid the same wage, people don’t work because there’s no point. even though i pointed out the obvious differences in what i’m proposing and what North Korea apparently has, like the fact that people would still earn a wage at their job in addition to UBI, giving them incentive to work if they’re able. she isn’t for universal healthcare, because “people don’t deserve [the things] they don’t earn.” i told her that was a shitty point of view and that i was done. and then i hung up on her for the first time in 20 years.
because it IS a shitty point of view. it’s narrow-minded and selfish. when she says that people need to earn things like healthcare, what i hear is that she’s okay with letting other people suffer, because they didn’t (or can’t) put in the effort. it’s classist. she’s defending the status quo because she needs to be better than someone, and if everyone is provided for, then where does she stand?
do i think that she’s actively thinking these things? no. but they’re at the root of her beliefs. and i really want her to recognize these things so she can grow. i really don’t think she’s a bad person, just very narrow-minded. i know that a lot of that has to do with her upbringing. she’s been very sheltered. she grew up in a very religious (Christian of some flavour, prossibly Evangelical, idk) home, and that influenced her a lot. she grew up (and still lives in) a fairly rural area. she’s never lived in a city with more than a handful of BIPOC. she’s met some, of course, but she didn’t grow up with non-white neighbours.
i really think that because she’s so sheltered, she’s not able (or unwilling) to see that her experience isn’t the default. i want her to be a better person, because i don’t really want to cut her out of my life. but if she can’t agree that people have a right to live, to not need to struggle for survival, i’m going to have to.