To My Best Friend on the Right

Art by Rob Goldstein
I am an artist because you said I am.

We met over 40 years ago when I was still in my teens.

You are my oldest friend and the friend I love most.

You invited me into your family.

You ushered me into adulthood.

You cared for me when I was at my worst; when doctors dismissed
me as malingering; you knew my pain was real.

Over the years we grew and changed but we never lost each other
and I never lost my love for our friendship.

When I tested that friendship with my addiction you went silent
but you didn’t go away.

You forgave me when I was ready to admit that I was ashamed, and
wrong and sorry.

I didn’t lose you but over the years we changed and spoke less often and
slowly drifted apart until we met again on Facebook.

And now I am baffled.

How do I reconcile the friend who was a civil rights activist with the friend
who believes that our first Black President is a terrorist despite the evidence
it isn’t true?

How do I reconcile the child advocate with the person who thinks that unfettered
access to all guns is more important than the safety and psychological well
being of school children?

How do I reconcile the person who thought that Nixon was a crook with the
person who supports a Congress that follows the dictates of even worse

How do I understand the disciplined mind who thinks that a democrat is too crooked to be president simply because a well-known and obvious right-wing smear machine says she is.

I suspect that many intelligent and honorable people believe as you do and I suspect that they are frightened too.

Age returns us to a powerlessness that we are powerless to stop.

Each year brings us closer to an inevitable and uncertain end.

The question is not when but how.

Will we end as we began?

Will we again be at the mercy of the brutally strong?

Will semi-automatic weapons and the racist bluster of Donald
Trump give us safety as we enter our decline?

Are you as frightened as I am?

Then let me tell you these things:

I live because you helped me.

I love because you loved me.

I write because you called me writer.

I make art because you called me artist.

I live my dream because you showed me dreams are real.

You pulled a boy out of the housing projects of Charleston and he slowly became a man who understands honor and humility and the value of friendship and family.

It took years of fear and failure but I stand here an artist because you had faith in that little piece of poor white trash from the projects.

And you didn’t need guns.

And you didn’t need smear campaigns.

And you didn’t need the distracting babble of cynical ideologues who prey on fear.

All you needed was your heart.

You are my oldest friend and the friend I love most.

I share this water with you.

It’s the water you gave me.

Rob Goldstein 2016













33 thoughts on “To My Best Friend on the Right

  1. I appreciate how you wrote this, I can tell you put a lot of your heart into it, along with such meaning. I commend you for your honesty and hope it is received well. Hugs, Robin xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I think there are many confused people in the world right now. I’m convinced that 90 percent of my political anger is the the result of a manipulative and corrupt media that feeds on chaos.

      I will not stop loving the people I love for what they believe and I have decided to do my best to stop buying into the absurd idea that someone who disagrees with me is my enemy.


  2. What a beautiful story! It contains so much: love, friendship, fear, politics, aging, how life changes us…just WOW! Yes, you are a writer and artist, you just proved that with a bang, the way you got all of this into this beautiful piece of writing. I am in awe. Thanks for sharing, I hope this makes people think as much as it did make me think. Beautiful story. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I understand this post, Robert. I left behind many childhood friends who cling to those right-wing “values”. It’s hard to have a conversation. But the devotion is still there. I’ll stand by them, even if I whole-heartedly disagree with their politics. ❤️ 💛 💙 💜 Beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My friends were and are my family. There are times when on sits down and waits…The last of life’s phases is the most fraught with anxiety, especially for people who take pride in their independence and power. It is difficult to have a young and nimble mind in a body that is changing and in decline. We don’t really discuss this process because we are in such an age and death phobic culture.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. This is thoughtful, emotional and beautifully expressed. I can only hope that more and more people will come to see how fear has been used to divide us, to literally tear us apart in many ways.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It has Karen…Wen I read the memo from Pat Buchanan to HR Haldemann in which he spells out the strategy of pitting the working class against the poor I was filled with such loathing. As a political party it has only believed one thing: win the game by regardless of the damage to our nation and its political system.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, sometimes I wish I could eradicate the nastiest, most destructive traits from human nature and leave us as the compassionate, caring species that we should be. Hopefully we will evolve to that point one day.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I guess the difference here is between action and belief. Even when you were ‘at your worst’ he cared for you. Perhaps, despite the differences, it is your turn 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes…It’s my turn to practice patience. Before I knew what my problem was I was difficult and alot of people walked away but not this friend. The beauty of the blog is that it let’s me ‘see’ what I think…prior to this I often didn’t know.


      1. Agreed.

        I read an interesting piece on the Brexit vote. It seems that young people 18-25 wanted the UK to stay in the EU but they didn’t show up at the polls. They didn’t vote.

        What’s the lesson here in the U.S. for the Millennials?

        All of the complaining in the world changes nothing.

        The direction a political system takes is determined by the people who show up to vote.

        Not voting is the same as voting for the other side.

        The other thing to remember is this: the GOP loves to distract us with smears, name calling and scandal mongering.

        None of those are policy.

        Pay attention to the candidate who discusses the policies that affect the quality of your life: schools, housing education, healthcare and a living wage.

        Calling Clinton a ‘crook’ is not a policy statement.

        If all the republicans have got is yet another ginned up Clinton scandal then they don’t deserve your vote.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It makes me sad that younger people couldn’t be bothered. I made sure my older son fully understood the value of the right to vote and registered as soon as he was old enough. Now we are out of the EU, there seems to be a little sort of “o..k..we got we wanted, now what shall we do with it?” Labour shadow ministers are resigning left right and centre, Cameron is quitting so he doesn’t have to pick up the pieces and apparently the next government wouldn’t have to stick to the Brexit decision anyway. So much spin flying around it’s like a carousel…anyone for revolution?!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The problem is that the actual revolution was derailed by a selfish and greedy global elite.

        The idea of uniting as a united planet is the revolution. To do this we need to understand why indulging in instinctive human behavior is not an evolutionary advantage.

        If we allow ourselves to return to tribalism we will self destruct.

        It is essential that people under thirty vote because their elders have lost their freaking minds and think that the solution to unbridled capitalism is feudalism.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow…this is deep and I had moments where I saw both sides….and to be honest it almost made me cry…because although I am not American…I have found myself very concerned with what is happening there….who’s “right”…who’s “wrong”…it makes me think….why is everything so divided….I write this as I sit with my laptop in front of the TV…CNN is on…I watch two ideologies play out…I watch news anchors putting words in the mouths of the supposed political experts…from the outside looking in…I don’t see a left or right….I see… one…big…wolf in sheep’s clothing…in regards to your friend…don’t lose them over the politics of this corrupt world we live in….hang on to the positives and strength this person has brought to you ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you! That’s my point and you got it. People who might otherwise love each other have been played against each other by cynical political leaders who implemented a strategy of divide and conquer in the 1970’s. There are two sides to this story but what each side shares is fear and the deployment of fear as a weapon of control.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re not alone. People all over the world are beginning to wake up to the fact that we’ve been had…And the smears and scandal mongering and name calling is only pissing us off more. I want policy and if Hillary is a crook I need to hear it from more reliable sources than Fox News and the New York Post.

        Liked by 1 person

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