This is the first time that someone I've known face-to-face has ever broken contact due to political differences, or at least made me privy to why they're breaking contact. For all I know, I've had several classmates or hometown friends cross me off their list, but nary a peep to when or why.
Throughout my many years investigating politics, spouting dribble and the like, I've been friends with pretty much every side of the spectrum. From the libertarian to the Christian conservative to the anarchist to the socialist; every single one, no matter the difference, stayed friendly and never let the politics affect our relationship.
Same goes for me. My closest friend during my years at college (the most radical years for me, politically) was a recent immigrant to Canada from Honduras and a strong conservative. He had no qualms about praising President Bush or harking on Muslims for not denouncing a terrorist attack or crime. He was (and still is) a humble Christian who condemned homosexual marriage and homosexuality itself, but he also was close friends with several gay people and while not accepting their lifestyle he did not preach or attack them because of it. He accepted them based on personality and their social conduct. Also, since he wasn't brought up in the nanny/thought police politically correct country like most of the students were, he used racial slurs like they were common. And their usage wasn't because he was a racist; he called himself a “spic” about ten times more than he would call anyone else by their un-PC name.
During that time, I was a leftist anarchist promoting revolution across the world and the destruction of religion and capitalism. Go figure.
Jay Nordlinger at National Review has written on the subject of personal relationships and politics. His article My Kingdom for a Safe Zone is pretty much summed up (and sums up my feelings) in this passage:
I grew up with the slogan “The personal is political.” It was more common than “A little dab’ll do ya,” in dear old Ann Arbortown. And this is one of the things I turned away from, with nausea. No, the personal is not political — at least not often. A recognition of this fact might be said to be the beginning of conservatism (or true liberalism — as distinct from fascism or communism or any totalitarianism).I suggest you read it all. Very sad, but very insightful.
Politics should never fit in to your friendships and acquaintances. If an anarchist can be best buds with a racial-slur throwing, Christ-loving conservative... well, that pretty much is the icon of peace and love and all that jazz, no?