friends and politics


last night, i had an old friend, a left-leaning doctor who also has a degree in politics, and her partner, a left-leaning lawyer. she was tired but her conversation was still as engaging as ever.

After they left, i thought about how i’d missed having people around me with a well read and considered opinion of politics. i also thought about how another friend of mine had said that she’d one day looked around herself and discovered that none of her friends and the people she associated with had the same depth of interest, level of engagement and grasp of political issues as she had.

It wasnt a boast and I understood what she meant. It really is to do with interest and maybe a sort of ability that is not satisfied by simple answers. My own grasp varies considerably and depends on how much I’ve read and thought about something but often the people I know have a shallow understanding – one that has no room for complexities – about most of what is happening. Long ago, I gave up having those kind of conversations with my friends (with the exception of the left leaning doctor and a couple of others) and migrated to the online world of media, various opeds, blogs and mail-lists. The online world suits me greatly for this – I have the leisure to think before I respond, I am able to formulate and construct an argument, I can perform whatever research I need. Compared to that, verbal conversation became very unfulfilling. I decided to avoid talking about politics and economics and stick to more personal matters such as the parlous state of my ex-relationship and the complexities of my dating life – a never ending source of amusement for my friends and interest for me.

however, last nights conversation made me re-think my stance a bit. I enjoyed the conversation – it didnt get anywhere really and didnt really go into any depth (these things generally dont i find) – but it was companionable and reminded me that there are others out there even if of a different political stripe that are engaged and are interested enough to dig around for themselves. I thought about how lonely it would be to not know many others like oneself.

Anyway, my friend is away at the moment but I’ve made a note to myself to invite her over for dinner the next time I have my doctor friend and her partner over. I’m also thinking of asking Mordwen along. Now, if I only knew a couple more centrists…

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