And you realize what that means? That before this whole situation, when these people were arguing about this issue on the internet, one person thought it was a fun theoretical debate in which the only thing at stake was prestige points, while the other thought they were talking about a heart-wrenching issue with lives at stake. One was trying to find a way to give a future to kids who slip through society's cracks, and the other was like, "Good game! You were a worthy opponent!"
And something terrible happens, and your sportsmanlike opponents say: "We can go back to having fun later, but THIS isn't the time for politicizing!" And only then do you realize it's been a game to them the whole time.
There are three things to take away here:
1. We put too few things into the "real stuff" bucket and too many things into the "politics" bucket. Some stuff that seems minor and non-urgent to us probably has a real and serious effect on people we don't know a lot about. Maybe we're treating too many things as game topics.
2. Other people don't have the same buckets. We need to stop always assuming people are manufacturing issues or "playing politics" just because they're focusing on an issue we think (or know!) is dumb. Even if they're clearly wrong, they're not necessarily doing this on purpose or cleverly trying to "distract from the real issues."
3. Sometimes "politics" should come before friendship. I want to be really careful with this. I don't mean "frivolous issues from our politics bucket" and I don't mean "party loyalty." I mean human-affecting stuff we put in our "real life" bucket which many people mistakenly classify as "fun game politics." I don't necessarily mean breaking up, but I don't think something that important to you should be papered over to keep things smooth and avoid fights. I don't think you should have to laugh along when a friend attacks something near and dear to your heart, or to be made to feel guilty if you stoneface their joke and cause tension. I think you should tell them they're more important than politics to you, but that the thing they just said ... ain't in your politics bucket.
Christina is on Twitter and Facebook.
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