Someone I like and respect just made a post about keeping friends when they have shitty politics, and as someone who has been known to remain friends with people who have shitty politics, I wanted to say a few things about it.
I’m starting my own post on the topic, so as not to start a refutation pile-on:
When I extend such people kindness or friendship it’s generally because they’re homeless, hungry, impoverished, marginalized, abused, lacking access to critical thinking education… the list goes on. In any shitty political circle there are the privileged ringleaders and there are the marginalized people they take advantage of.
And the latter… need someone to reach out to them, and quietly, softly let them know there’s a better way.
Sometimes they’re not ready to listen to a direct argument but can still learn by example.
Sometimes being there to give that example is frustrating and draining… and it’s not a task we should expect of everyone! You don’t have to hang around with anyone who is oppressing or mistreating you!
But often, when I can tolerate someone who’s posing a problem to others, I do, because they’re not going to get better without getting that from someone.
And it doesn’t mean I’ve signed onto whatever bullshit they’re desperately clinging to out of misplaced survival instinct.
(Or even not misplaced? For example if the only people helping someone avoid starvation are also defending North Korea on the internet, it’s easy for them to get caught up in it… so you see what I mean when I say that sometimes the necessary counterexample is just showing up and being decent. For one of my friends… that’s what I was, the person who helped her buy basic groceries while not trying to radicalize her.)
And sometimes they come around. Other times they get angry at you for your own politics, or get more privileged and hang onto their shitty politics and you have to cut ties. But I’ve seen people become better this way.
Be angry at the privileged people who exploit; show compassion, when you can, for those exploited.
The hardmode of that is “even when they’re being used to harm others”. It’s hardmode; it’s not for everyone; you have to be good at boundaries and knowing your limits. But… when you can, how you can, it’s worthwhile.