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Along Twin Ponds Road

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By Ray Willis

“Keep your politics and your political views to yourself” was a fundamental principle my father pounded solidly into my character. It’s one of the many principles that he successfully passed onto me.   Several of the rules he had set for his four children I chose not to pass on to my own son. I found that my father did not live by some of the rules and principles he had set for us.  Hypocrisy can be a difficult pill to swallow.

I have found myself voting for whom I thought would be the best candidate to do most for the greatest number of Americans, regardless of political affiliation.

I’m not quite sure why I voted for Nixon, probably because I wanted to be with the “winners.” The Republican party had the longest win streak when I went to the polls for the first time in 1960.  I have voted for Democrats, Republicans and even and Independent presidential candidate.  I have even “split my ticket” a time or two.

However, once a president had been elected I tried to be a good patriot, optimistic, and get over my disappointment if the candidate(s) I had voted for went down to defeat.

Along with keeping politics and my political views to myself, I have always tried to be very careful not to hurt or upset my friends.  In the last 30 years we have had occasion to live through eight year eras of political dominance by one of the two main parties.  The way the country has been run has been upsetting for so many of us that we have become, perhaps, overly sensitive to discussing those things or issues publicly.

I have to give my earthly father much credit for drilling into me the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  There are several examples in the Bible of this principle or parts of it.  In Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”

I have tried to live by that rule for most of my life.  Yes, I have failed, and sometimes miserably, when it came to living my life by it.  If we could all, somehow, live by that divine principle, wouldn’t we be much better off in our daily living?

Lately, I have found myself deeply troubled by people I call “friends” inundating me with the forwarding of e-mails of a political nature. The messages are inaccurate often and very offensive. How can true friends or family, in some cases, be so insensitive or presumptuous?  How do they know who I voted for?  How do they know how much I know or to what lengths I may have researched political issues in the news today?  How much have they researched the accuracy of political e-mails they are forwarding?

I certainly would not dare to risk offending anyone with my forwarding a political e-mail.  I respect friends too much for that.

You ask did I ever retaliate and forward a political e-mail to one of another political persuasion who had offended me?  Yes, just once, knowing beforehand how it would be received.   I predicted accurately that I would be rebuked severely and was.  I have even chosen to end two 47-year-old friendships over their insensitivity.

I still think my father was right when he told me politics is a private matter.  We do need friends.

God bless you.