You’ve known him since you were in high school. For reasons opaque to you, during the era when the Left was doing more than kissing the back of the Lesser E., he joined the Communist Party. Dumb: lousy politics, puritanical, personally repressive, attached as if by umbilical to a Line. So, he discovers that Gus Hall (the CP’s designated-peasant leader) really was getting Moscow gold, and this disillusions him. Fine.
So what does he follow with? A nearly lifelong obsession with–brace yourself–the NRA. Yes, that one. He has his concealed-weapons permit, he’s sour and pissed, and seems to think that getting older means that in order to maintain his masculine identity, he must adopt the guise of yet another angry white guy, constantly irritated, ulcer in tow. Dumb.
No more activism, no more politics (unless voting to protect the right to mayhem). Alcohol and a series of hobbies replace the horizon previously occupied by concern for the world. Painfully dumb.
So what to do? If he read this and recognized me, we would never be friends again. You can’t tell your friends they are dumb…if they truly are. Only intelligence–based as it must be, on integrity–makes possible that kind of friendship, where you can say anything to each other and remain bonded. So, unless you’re one of the lucky few who has that kind of friend, forget it.
So we’re “friends”…but the heart of a shared world is gone. And what kind of friendship is that?