COUNSELOR'S CORNER: Friendships and politics

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I am not a fan of Donald Trump. Many of my friends for whatever reason have voted for him. They are still my friends and I am still their friend. Who we vote for should not determine our friendships. A friend of mine a couple of weeks ago let me know that he liked Donald Trump. I was surprised. I genuinely like this man and respect this man. I still do.

Everyone has their own particular reason for voting the way they do in a general election or state election. We all have different viewpoints about life. There is probably an element of truth in every person’s viewpoint. What is most difficult today is to see and understand the element of truth in other people’s viewpoints. I am amazed at the intense condemning and judgmental statements people make on Facebook. This is on both sides of politics and religion.

The art of understanding listening to someone else can easily be lost today. I may not agree with you but I do need to listen to you with an open mind and heart. I hope you can listen to me also. I do not have to convince other people to think and act like me. Other people do not have to convince me to think and act like them. We are all on this planet together and it is most important that we understand the reason for how we think and perceive life.

One of the greatest fallacies of all times is the unconscious desire to attribute goodness and holiness to our leaders in spite of the facts surrounding them. I want to believe you are the way I want you to be. Don’t bother me with facts.

Everyone is flawed. This is why all politics, social movements and religious denominations need to share the same reality. Everyone is flawed and can do stupid things. Once I realize this, I can better appreciate our democratic system and different political parties. It forces everyone to look at things deeper and hold everyone accountable. The bigger any institution becomes the more it needs to be help accountable for its actions. And there will always be flawed actions and flawed people. Political parties and religious denominations are now often confronted about the actions of its members. Because of modern technology everything and everyone becomes an open book especially if you enter politics or have a prominent position in a religious denomination.

Because everyone is flawed, I still need to be open and loving towards everyone. Who I vote for in my journey through life does not determine who I am. How I vote may be something quite accidental to how I live my personal life.

I need to hear your viewpoints in order to analyze my own viewpoints better. Each of us may have an element of truth that needs to be recognized. Those for Pro-Life need to understand the viewpoints of those who might be for abortion rights. And vice versa. Democrats need to understand Republicans and vice versa. The old and the young need to understand one another. Different religious denominations need to understand each other. Friendships should never be determined by different political viewpoints. I should not be trying to convince others how to think politically or religiously. All I need to do is explain the reasons for how I act or think. Trying to convince others to think like me is the greatest obstacle to harmony and peace. Sharing with others my reasons for my viewpoints can be the greatest help to making better connections in life.

The biggest problem for mankind is the need to “proselytize” or “convert” others to my way of thinking. Having a positive spirituality, a positive philosophy and a positive theology about life is the greatest help for world peace and harmony and the greatest help for promoting friendships between people and between nations. You are still my good friend no matter who you might vote for. I will not try and convince you what you should do and please don’t try and convince me. I do want to hear your viewpoint on everything and if you want to hear my viewpoint, I will gladly share it. I am not out to convince you what to do. I am only wanting to share with you what I do and how I think. When we do this with each other our friendship will deepen and world harmony will be helped. We are all on this journey together.
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Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage & family therapist and psychotherapist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan he is also on staff at Capuchin Retreat Center in Washington, MI. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@yahoo.com.

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